Your Quick and Essential Guide to the Tooth Decay Stages

America is rotting away. 25.9% of American adults have untreated tooth decay. This makes tooth decay one of the most prominent medical problems in America.

But not everyone has tooth decay in the same way. You may go through several different tooth decay stages, and each one has its impact on how you can receive treatment.

How does tooth decay begin? What are the signs that you are going through the stages of tooth decay? When should you get dental treatment?

Answer these questions and you can keep your teeth strong and sparkling for years to come. Here is your quick guide.

Initial Demineralization

Enamel forms the outer layer of your teeth. It is a very tough substance made of hard minerals. These minerals can break down food, resist bacteria, and provide support to your jaw.

But bacteria can slip into the gaps between your teeth and gather inside your gums. If you don’t brush your teeth well, the bacteria can build up and produce acid. Their acid can slowly dissolve the outer layer of your teeth.

This is the start of the tooth decay process. You may notice small white spots on your teeth. These spots are the outer layer of minerals dissolving bit by bit.

Demineralization is easy to reverse. You should use a fluoride mouthwash to restore minerals to your teeth. You should floss and brush your teeth to remove the bacteria.

Enamel Decay

Over time, the acid that the bacteria produces will dissolve the outer layer of your teeth. The bacteria will penetrate into the deeper layers and begin forming brown spots. The spots are stains that the acid creates as it dissolves the minerals.

The spots can expand and form cavities inside your teeth. Cavities can allow more bacteria to enter your teeth, exacerbating the late stages of tooth decay. They can also compromise the integrity of your teeth, allowing them to get worn down or wiggle out of the gums.

Cavities require a visit to the dental clinic. A Dentist Red Deer needs to fill them in so your teeth do not fall apart.

After you get your cavities filled, you need to be diligent. You should brush your teeth multiple times a day and swish mouthwash so you kill the bacteria in your mouth.

Dentin Breakdown

Dentin lies underneath the enamel. It is a softer material that reinforces the enamel and makes up the majority of the tooth. Dentin provides support for the nerves in the teeth, protecting them from bacteria.

Once bacteria have dissolved the enamel, it penetrates into the dentin. Dentin decay happens very quickly because dentin is soft in comparison to the enamel.

If your cavities aren’t filled in, they will get larger. Once the dentin around your nerves has dissolved, you may begin to feel sensitivity. Pain may become sharp when you have a very hot or cold drink.

Dentists can fill in missing dentin. They can add fillings into the middle of the teeth and then close the cavities in the enamel. If one tooth has started to collapse in on itself, a dentist can install a crown over the tooth.

Pulp Decay

The pulp is the final layer of the teeth. Blood vessels and nerves lie inside the pulp, and the pulp connects the entire tooth into the gums.

Decay in the pulp can cause significant problems. A tooth may begin to swell, pressing against the gums and triggering nerve pain.

Bacteria can kill the pulp, though a tooth may remain inside the gums. A tooth with dead pulp can turn black and develop a bad smell.

Once the pulp has decayed, a dentist must perform a root canal. They will drill a hole into the tooth and extract the dead pulp. They may install a crown to protect the enamel, especially if the enamel has worn down.

Pus Development

As the pulp is decaying, bacteria can invade through holes in the enamel. They can burrow into the bottom of the tooth and develop pus. The pus can build up and apply pressure against the gums and jaw.

Pus building up inside a tooth requires immediate dental treatment. The bacteria may spread into the bloodstream and cause medical problems. A root canal or tooth removal may be necessary to prevent bacteria from spreading.

Tooth Loss

Most people lose a tooth after their dentist pulls it out due to pus development. Other people lose one because the enamel wears down and the tooth falls out of their gums.

Tooth loss has numerous health effects. It can lead to or contribute to TMJ because the joints can slide out of place without support from the teeth. You will need the best treatment for TMJ to manage your symptoms after you lose your teeth.

You can replace a lost tooth with a dental implant. Dentures can also help if you lose only one tooth and your surrounding teeth are not decaying.

The Tooth Decay Stages

Tooth decay stages occur rapidly. Bacteria can form white spots on enamel, and the enamel can break down.

Once cavities have formed, the bacteria can penetrate into the dentin and pulp. Pus can build up inside the tooth and the pulp itself can die.

Initial treatment involves removing the bacteria with a toothbrush and mouthwash. A dentist can fill in any cavities and reinforce the enamel with a crown. After the pulp decays, a root canal or tooth removal could occur.

Be conscious of the threats to your dental health. Read more dentistry guides by following our coverage.

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