What is tooth decay?
Improper oral hygiene and food habits, leads to the acid attack on the outermost structure of the tooth, which causes demineralisation of the tooth enamel. This demineralisation slowly leads to loss of tooth structure, which is what is referred to as cavities. Such state of the tooth is described as decayed or carious tooth.
When a decayed tooth is identified much earlier, cavities can be prevented from forming and the tooth can be filled up with a restorative material or fluoride sealant, which will arrest the decay formation any further.
How does decay spread?
When the early stage of caries is unnoticed or rather overlooked many at times, the decay starts to spread to the dentin the next layer of the tooth. This is when the patients starts developing symptoms ranging from sensitivity and pain. In such cases depending on the depth of decay and clinical symptoms, either temporary or permanent restorations can be placed.
Once the decay spreads beyond dentin and reaches the nerve endings the pulp, many at times they will require a root canal treatment. RCT becomes inevitable at this stage to alleviate the pain and infection.
How to identify early caries? Can we do it on our own?
Early caries may not be self-identifiable all the time, unless they become deeper and become symptomatic. You will require a visit to the dentist to check it out. Dental caries can appear as a small black dot on the tooth surface, or may appear as dark brown lines along the tooth crevices, or may be present hidden in between two teeth, or may be caused by a constant irritation like a partial denture etc.
It is best to visit a dentist once in every 6 months to check out for early signs.
What are the possible treatments on early intervention of caries?
When a dentist detect the tooth decays much earlier, it is best to remove the decay using high speed instruments and restore them with suitable restorations of choice. Fluoride sealants can also be used in very small cavities to prevent further dental decay. This way the demineralised enamel can be helped to re-mineralise faster. Hence the tooth function can be restored back to normal.
Remember the smaller the restoration, the better is the remineralisation and stronger is the tooth for longer and effective function.
So the best way to intervene early, is to visit a dentist once in every 6 months to have a check-up done. Early cavities can be detected before any pain is felt and treated by conservative and minimally invasive restorations on which modern day dentistry revolves around today.
So what are you waiting for? Do visit us at Oris Dental Center for a dental check-up.