Tooth decay progresses in stages, but if it is treated early enough, you have treatment options to preserve your natural teeth and can avoid a dental emergency. Many patients only become aware of dental decay once they experience pain and need the services of an emergency dentist. This article will outline the stages of tooth decay, and the importance of regular dental checkups that can help you to avoid a dental emergency.
Brushing and flossing every day can help to keep plaque levels under control. Plaque is a sticky substance that coats the surfaces of your teeth. It’s also full of bacteria that turn the sugars in your food into acidic substances that can erode your dental enamel and cause cavities to develop on your teeth.
Your job is to remove plaque every day and to visit your dentist to remove any hardened plaque so you can avoid the pain and inconvenience of a dental emergency caused by tooth decay.
Understanding The Stages Of Tooth Decay
If you are aware of the stages of tooth decay, you can get it treated quickly and minimise your chances of complications.
Demineralisation of your teeth
When there is too much plaque on your tooth surfaces, it starts to weaken the dental enamel. Plaque build-up weakens and demineralises the enamel so it can’t protect your teeth properly. If you can see white spots on your teeth, this is likely to be the demineralisation of your dental enamel.
Decay of your dental enamel
If you don’t visit your dentist for treatment, those white spots will start turning brown. This means that the bacteria have started to decay your enamel and cavities start developing. If you visit an emergency dentist, dental fillings can be done to stop the cavities from getting bigger.
Decay of your dentin
If your tooth decay is left untreated, it will progress to affect the dentin, the layer below the enamel. If you don’t visit your emergency dentist, your tooth decay can accelerate quickly. By this stage of decay, you will notice sensitivity to temperatures or sweet food and drinks. Dentin decay can still be treated with a filling if caught early enough. If not, your dentist may need to remove a portion of your tooth and cover it with a crown.
Damage to the pulp of your tooth
The pulp is the part of your tooth that is full of blood vessels and nerves. It is below the dentin and keeps the tooth alive. If the infection affects the pulp of your tooth, you are likely to notice swelling and pain.
If your tooth decay has progressed to this stage, it is a dental emergency, and your dentist will need to do a root canal treatment to save the tooth.
Formation of an abscess
An abscess is a dental emergency that needs immediate treatment. It needs to be drained, so the infection doesn’t spread, and you may need a course of antibiotics.
Knowing the stages of tooth decay can help you to avoid the need for an emergency dentist, potentially saving your tooth. Please contact us for help today: (02) 4210 9078.
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