For those of us who enjoy eating sweets and drinking acidic or sugary beverages, tooth decay is a fact of life. Even with regular brushing and flossing, the wearing down of our teeth’s enamel occurs and can be accelerate or cause underlying dental issues. While visiting your dentist regularly is a great way to prevent tooth decay, once it occurs there are several treatments available. Read below for more information on how a dentist fixes tooth decay.
What is tooth decay and what causes it?
Tooth decay is damage to the outer layer, known as enamel, of your teeth due to bacteria in your mouth creating acids that negatively interact with the enamel. This can cause cavities, and if gone without treatment, it can create pain and other discomfort for the patient. The cause emanates from bacteria that are fed by sugars and starches, leading your teeth to lose minerals and advance the effects. When a dentist fixes tooth decay, he or she will likely counsel you on minimizing sugar, starch, and other harmful foods in your day to day diet.
Who can be at risk and what are its signs?
Anyone can be at risk for tooth decay but those who do not produce sufficient saliva, do not get enough fluoride, or are very young or very old are at elevated risk. The symptoms of tooth decay usually appear as pain or a toothache, being unusually sensitive to sweets or hot or cold temperatures, stains on the surface of a tooth, cavities, or an infection.
How does a dentist diagnose it and then correct it?
A dentist will first likely undertake a visual examination and probe your teeth with instruments. Following that, he or she may then take x-rays of the affected area to ensure they have all the information they need to fix the tooth decay that is afflicting you. Some fixes are relatively easy and painless, such as a fluoride treatment that requires little more than coating your teeth for an extended period of time. Others, including fillings – a common way to fix cavities – are more intensive. The most intensive fixes for tooth decay are root canals or, if severe enough, a total tooth extraction.
What do I do if I have more questions about how dentists fix tooth decay?
Our office is here to answer any questions you may have. Make an appointment with a Newbury Park dental professional today to ensure that you prevent or fix any tooth decay that can occur before you need intensive treatment.