Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay Treatments

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay will occur when the enamel and the dentine of your tooth becomes soft after acid attack. This will happen when you have eaten or drunk something that has sugar in it. Eventually all this sugar will cause a hole to form in the tooth. This will lead to tooth decay and the tooth will have to be filled.
What is the cause of tooth decay in children?

The first of our teeth will come through when we are about 6 months old and should all be through by the time that we are 3. Where tooth decay occurs in young children this can cause a lot of pain and distress. Diet plays a big part in preventing tooth decay especially making sure that there is not too much sugar in food and drinks that a child has in his or her diet. Giving drinks from a cup is far better than having a bottle and tooth brushing should become a regular habit that a child continues through life.

What is enamel?

The enamel of the tooth is the outer coating that protects the tooth and is the hardest substance in the body. It is not sensitive to pain as it has no blood vessels or nerves.

And dentine?

Dentine lies under the enamel and is what forms most of the tooth. This layer can be very sensitive to pain. It covers the central part of the tooth called the pulp.

So what is the pulp of the tooth?

This is the soft tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels and is in the centre of the tooth.

What does the term plaque refer to?

Plaque is the name given to a thin sticky film that continuously forms on the teeth and contains a lot of different types of bacteria.

What will cause my teeth to decay?

Decay will mostly occur as a result of sugary drinks and food reacting with the plaque that coats our teeth. This causes acid to form and allows the tooth to be eroded and holes to form. In the hour after you have eaten or drunk something sugary, before the natural salvia can defend the teeth, the acid will be able to attack the enamel and then the dentine of the tooth. Having sugary drinks between meals will also hasten the decay process because the teeth do not have the chance to recover from attack before the next meal or drink is taken.

What signs will indicate that I might have tooth decay?

Initially there will be no symptoms but if you are going for regular check ups your dental team might spot a cavity forming early and take appropriate action. That is why it is so important to have regular check ups at the dentist.

Once a cavity is identified what will happen?

At the point where the cavity reaches the dentine part of the tooth you might start to feel sensitivity when you have acid, hot, cold or sweet foods and drink. As the cavity extends nearer the pulp then you will start to get pain brought on by eating the above food types. This pain will get progressively worse and last longer with the need to take painkillers. At this point you should not delay visiting the dentist as your tooth will be dying and an abscess might form if there is no treatment.

What will happen if I don’t get treatment early enough?

Having toothache is always a warning that you should visit your dentist as soon as you can. If you do not see the dentist then the tooth might be beyond saving and it may have to be removed.

Are there some areas of my teeth that are more vulnerable to decay?

The surface of the tooth that is used to bite and the areas between the teeth are most prone to decay. Food and plaque typically get stuck in these areas. However no part of the tooth is safe from tooth decay.

What will be the treatment for my tooth decay?

If decay has not progressed too much then a filling should repair the damage. If the nerve in the centre of the tooth has been damaged then root canal work will have to be done to remove the nerve and to fill or crown the tooth. If the decay has progressed too far then the tooth will have to be removed.

Will I always have to have a filling for decay?

No not always. If the decay is caught very early then the dental team may be able to repair the damage with a fluoride varnish applied to the area. This will help to re-mineralise the tooth and to stop the decay spreading. You will be advised on how to brush and the right toothpaste to use to ensure that the decay does not start up again.

What can I do to protect my teeth against decay?

As adult molars appear in the back of the mouth and if the tooth is healthy it is possible to have a pit and fissure sealant applied to the tooth to protect it. This sealant gets into all the nooks and crannies making the surface flat and easier to keep clean. This treatment can also be given to adults who have healthy teeth. Ask your dental team about this particular treatment. Fluoride varnishes are also applied to children’s teeth twice a year to help reduce decay occurring.

How can I prevent decay occurring?

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to care for your teeth. Brush them thoroughly every night and at least one other time per day with fluoride toothpaste. Learn how to brush each tooth carefully over every surface and ask advice on what toothbrush will be best for your teeth. The use of interdental brushes, dental floss and tape will also help to remove plaque and food from between the teeth.

What else can I do?

Have regular dental check-ups and eat and drink less sugary or acid foods. Try not to snack between meals to limit the number of attacks that your teeth come under. Chewing sugar free gum will also help to promote saliva production and cancel out acid production.

How will my dentist and visiting the hygienist help me keep my teeth free from decay?

Your Dentists Near Me dentist and his or her team will help you to devise a great routine for keeping your teeth healthy and show you how to brush correctly and use the various tooth cleaning devices.