Types and Stages of Tooth Decay

Do you know what is scary about Halloween? Candies! Every year we let our children go from door to door collecting bagfuls of sweets such as sticky and gummy candy, hard candy and sour candy. Well candy is dandy but it is also a known miscreant. Not just candy, fizzy drinks are equally scary. According to an article published in the Guardian, about half the fizzy drinks have more sugar per serving than the recommended daily limit.

By the Skin of Your Teeth

Our teeth have a thin enamel shell that does a pretty good job of protecting us. However, in the presence of certain chemicals and bacteria, tooth enamel will break down eventually and allow the rot to take root inside the tooth core. Once the rot hits a nerve, you are looking at nothing less than a root canal; a rather painful process on the road to discovering that when it comes to tooth decay, prevention is always better than cure. That is the problem with tooth decay, when it reaches the final stages; it manifests itself in pain, increasing pain that clearly signals the end of a long period of negligence and ignorance of the damage within.

Unfortunately, gazillions of people all over the world overlook the need for basic preventive and regular oral and tooth hygiene. According to an article on Denta Gama, the online dental resources network, there are five stages of decay. Let us look at them one by one.

  1. The first sign of trouble is usually the appearance of a chalky white spot on the surface of the tooth that tells us that it is an area of tooth enamel that is being ‘demineralized.’ Furthermore, there is a clear sticky substance on teeth called plaque. It comprises of part saliva, part bacteria and food particles left behind on your teeth. The bacteria trapped in the sticky film feed on the sugars and starches that you eat and produces an acid byproduct that degrades the enamel.
  2. Given time, this tooth spot, lesion or microcavity will turn brown and once the decay has passed the enamel barrier. Just below the enamel shell is the dentin layer that links the tooth pulp and dentinal tubes which house the nerves of the tooth. Once tooth nerves have been exposed, comes transient pain that occurs while chewing, or drinking hot, cold or sweet food and drinks.
  3. In the third stage, the decay in dentin intensifies and the cavity gets bigger and bigger. Experts at Revitalizing Smiles say that this is the last stage when preventive intervention is possible to avoid one-tooth problems to turn into multiple-teeth problems. If you can get a filling done to repair the damage, you can avoid complications that occur in the fourth stage of decay such as formation of pus and nerve and tissue damage that will need a root canal treatment.
  4. The final stage of decay is when the infection travels past the tooth (now dead) and reach the tip of the tooth roots, from where it can spread to the jawbone itself.

Of course, it takes weeks and months to reach the final stages of despair, so what are you waiting for? Get your teeth examined today.

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