Tooth decay occurs when specific types of bacteria produce acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and it’s underlying payer, the dentin. Over time, the acid makes a cavity (hole) in the tooth.
How do I know if I have tooth decay?
You may experience toothache, tooth sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks, or pain when chewing.
What areas of my teeth are more likely to decay?
The biting surfaces of the teeth and the surfaces between the teeth are most likely to decay, because food and plaque can become stuck in these areas. But any part of the tooth can be at risk.
What causes tooth decay?
Many different types of bacteria live in our mouths. When we eat and drink, these bacteria create acids, which can dissolve the protective layer on our teeth. Decay begins in the main part of the tooth, and as the enamel is broken down the decay can go deeper into the dentin and can eventually reach the nerve of the tooth.
How do I prevent tooth decay?
Brushing your teeth and flossing daily will help reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Eating less sugary and starchy foods will help to reduce the amount of acid in your mouth. Using antibacterial mouth rinses will also reduce the level of bacteria that causes cavities.
We can apply a sealant on molars that have early signs of tooth decay, as long as the decay hasn’t broken through the enamel. If decay has broken through the enamel we may need to fill the tooth. In more serious cases, a root canal may be necessary.
What happens if I don’t get it treated early?
Toothache is a sign that you should visit us immediately. It is a warning that something is wrong. If you don’t do anything, this will usually make matters worse and you may lose a tooth that could otherwise have been saved.