What causes tooth cavities in Allen?
DID YOU KNOW THAT TOOTH DECAY IS STILL THE WORLDS MOST PREVALENT DISEASE?
According to the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research 92% of adults age 20-64 have decay in their permanent teeth. That is huge! So what causes tooth decay in Allen and how can you stop yourself from getting it? The way teeth decay is similar to the way other things decay. For example, have you ever seen a fruit like an apple that gets a dark spot in it, and the next thing you know the whole thing is soft and dark? Sometimes it is difficult to see when the apple is just laying on the counter because the peel is harder and disguises the decay, but when you pick it up it feels soft and squishy. The reason why this happens is the same reason why it happens in a tooth.
TOOTH DECAY IS CONTAGIOUS in Allen
The bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay can be spread from person to person through sharing drinks, eating after each other, chewing on inanimate objects like pencils, and kissing. Once the bacteria is shared it populates its new home quickly. Bacteria can reproduce by the millions overnight. They live throughout the mouth in the saliva, tonsils, on the tongue, between the teeth on the teeth, and in the gums around the teeth. The bacteria need food just like we do in order to survive. The mouth is a great place because we eat the carbohydrates that the bacteria need so there is always plenty around.
HOW THE TOOTH CAVITY FORMS
When the bacteria “eat” the carbohydrates that are left behind in our teeth and gums, they use it for energy. When the bacteria use the carbohydrates for energy the leftovers are bacteria called lactic acid. This acid makes our whole mouth more acidic. In the places where the bacteria are most concentrated the acid begins to eat a little hole or cavity in the tooth. When this happens more bacteria grow in the hard to reach the hole and the cavity grows faster.
TOOTH CAVITIES USUALLY START IN HARD TO REACH PLACES
Tooth decay usually started in the hard to clean places. The grooves of the teeth are a place they can hide out because toothbrush bristles can’t get to them easily in the bottom of deep grooves. The areas where the teeth touch each other is also a good hiding place for the cavity-causing bacteria. Another good place for them to hide out is behind the back molars because they are hard to reach places with the toothbrush. Cavities also start in between crooked teeth because it is much more difficult to remove the bacteria in the plaque when the teeth are bunched up.
DO CAVITIES HURT?
Cavities usually do not hurt until they get big. Sometimes the decay has consumed almost the whole tooth without creating any pain. The reason for this is that the teeth do not have any nerve endings in the mineral parts of the tooth. The nerves live deep in the middle of the tooth. The bacteria have to get to the middle of the tooth before the tooth nerves have any alert to the problem
STAGES AND TREATMENTS OF TOOTH DECAY
- EARLY DECAY
Early tooth decay is confined to the enamel of the tooth. The treatment of decay at this stage is the easiest. Fluoride can be used or a very small filling can be placed. If a filling is placed, usually the tooth does not even have to be numbed. Catching decay at this stage is easiest when seeing a dentist every 6 months.
- MODERATE DECAY
When a tooth has moderate decay, that means that the decay has gone farther into the tooth to the next layer called dentin. When decay reaches the dentin it tends to speed up and spread out. In this stage, a larger filling and sometimes a crown will need to be done, depending on how much tooth structure is affected.
- ADVANCED DECAY
Advanced caries is getting close to the pulp or has reached the pulp and is making it inflamed and hurt. At this stage the tooth will need a root canal and depending on how much of the tooth has decayed, it may need to be pulled.
- NECROTIC TOOTH
When the tooth is completely overcome with decay and the pulp has been invaded, the pulp tissue becomes necrotic or dead. If this happens it is a source of infection and the pulp needs to be removed with a root canal or the entire tooth needs to be removed by way of extraction depending on how much of the tooth structure is affected. Many times the tooth will be abscessed and painful.
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