When you experience sensitivity in and around your gums, it is more likely that you’re experiencing tooth decay. Tooth decay is one of the common symptoms of a dental emergency that stems from a number of factors. This includes bacteria forming on teeth due to frequent snacking, poor oral health, poor hygiene habits and general neglect of teeth. These are particularly grave concerns for children due to the number of sugary treats they usually consume. If decay isn’t treated, it can have a deeper effect on your oral health, so much that it may become unlikely to save affected teeth.
The Decay Process
But what is the process of tooth decay? How do teeth become decayed? We break this down into stages.
- Plaque Build-Up – Strong teeth require good sources of calcium. When there is a lack of it and a large build-up of plaque, the surface of teeth will contain white spots. Bacteria then captures the plaque and teeth begin to erode from the acid that forms from the bacteria. Acid also weakens and erodes tooth enamel. Enamel is essential for the health of teeth as it acts as a shield to protect teeth from discolouration and decay.
- Erosion Of The Enamel – The decay process starts to attack the enamel. The surface of the tooth is at risk of breaking down. This is the process of teeth cracking. As the enamel dissolves, the acids will then expose the underlying dentin which is the surface that keeps your teeth white. Once exposed, your teeth will begin to turn darker and into a yellow shade. At this point, once the enamel collapses, a dental cavity also begins to form. Usually, a dental filling would be administered when this happens.
- Bacterial Pulp – The dentin exists between the enamel and the pulp, which is the centre of the tooth root. When the pulp is exposed to bacteria, pus liquid forms that damages the nerves of the teeth. This will be painful and in this instance would require root canal therapy.
- Dental Abscess – At this point, if you haven’t visited the dentist yet, you’re in danger of experiencing a dental abscess. This is where bacteria reaches all the way down to the root. This is the consequence of not visiting the dentist to treat the dental cavity.
- Tooth Loss – The final stage of tooth decay is when the abscess is so severe the bacteria continues to make its way through the full tooth causing severe decay. After an abscess, the tooth becomes damaged beyond repair. Therefore, tooth extraction treatment would be administered to protect your neighboured teeth from also being damaged.
Root Canal or Tooth Extraction?
Root Canal is administered to a patient if the tooth shows signs of erosion and damage. However, only if the underlying gum line and bone are strong enough to preserve the remains of healthy teeth. A tooth can be partially decayed and partially healthy at the same time. In this instance, root canal treatment is given, where the affected area is disinfected and cleaned, and the healthy remains of the tooth are supported with a crown.
Where the tooth is severely decayed beyond repair and the crack is so severe, tooth extraction treatment is administered so preserve the strength of the bone and ensure neighboured teeth do not get affected.
Read here to learn more about the difference between Tooth Extraction and Root Canal
If you’re experiencing a dental problem, contact the dentist immediately to ensure the dentist has the best possible opportunity in preserving your oral health. Simply Dental is happy to restore your oral health. Contact us here to book your appointment.