To begin with, tooth decay is caused by food debris is stuck between your teeth. The bacteria that live in our mouths is responsible for transforming this food debris into acids. A combination of bacteria, acid, saliva, and food debris forms a sticky layer on the teeth called plaque. The acids found in plaque slowly dissolve the enamel of the teeth, which creates holes in our teeth that are called cavities.
But did you know that tooth decay occurs in five distinct stages? And as the stages progress, your chances of keeping your natural teeth become less. If tooth decay is identified and treated during the first stage, you can even reverse the entire process of tooth decay. Thus, gaining an understanding of the tooth decay process can help you in preventing it in the first place. Listed below are five stages of tooth decay.
#1 White Spots
During the first stage, the tooth starts to show damage caused by the acid, and white spots begin to appear underneath the enamel of the tooth. These white spots represent a tooth’s demineralization and can be missed easily because they usually appear on the molars. Thus, visiting your dentist for regular checkups will help in identifying tooth decay in its early stage, and you will not need to opt for tooth extraction.
#2 Enamel Decay
In the second stage, the tooth enamel starts getting damaged by the acid. First, the tooth begins to erode from the inside to the outside. However, after the cavity, i.e., tiny black holes, in the beginning, appears on the enamel’s surface, you need to get your cavity filled. So, it is better to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist near you without further delay to know your options for cavity prevention.
#3 Dentin Decay
During the third stage, the cavity progresses to the dentin, i.e., the second level of the tooth right below the enamel. Your dentist will suggest you to get a filling done immediately to prevent the bacteria from attacking the pulp.
#4 Pulp Damage
When you start experiencing toothache randomly or sensitivity after consuming something hot or cold, you should know that the cavity has reached the pulp of your tooth. Pulp damage can only be fixed by root canal treatment.
#5 Pus Formation
In the final stage of tooth decay, the infection will reach the tooth’s tip, which, in turn, will infect the surrounding tissues as well as the bone structure of the tooth. You will experience severe pain and swelling. There will also be abscess or pus formation, which can prove to be fatal if not treated immediately. Tooth extraction or root canal treatment would be your choice at this stage.
Thus, it is better to be safe than sorry. You should visit a dentist for cavity prevention in Norman, OK, for ruling out the possibility of tooth decay in case you witness any white spots. At Brammer Dental, our dentists have years of experience in cavity prevention in Norman, OK.