22 Jun TOOTH DECAY: CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS
Tooth decay: causes and symptoms
In the oral cavity, when eating food, bacteria accumulate on the surface of the teeth and form bacterial plaque. This, if not removed, ends up affecting the enamel of the teeth. With the accumulation of plaque, if it is maintained over time, it will progress affecting hard tissues, producing tooth decay.
Thus, we can define caries as an oral disease characterized by the destruction of the tissues of the teeth as a consequence of the demineralization caused by the acids generated by the bacterial plaque.
The symptoms of caries can be various: sensitivity, pain, bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth; color changes in the tooth; the appearance of holes in the teeth, abscessed teeth and even fracture of the tooth.
Dental caries treatment consists of two phases. In the first phase of treatment, caries and infected tissue will be removed with rotating and / or mechanical material. In the second phase, those lost surfaces will be reconstructed with restorative material.
These are the most common treatments when we face cavities:
• Obturation (filling). If the caries is in a more advanced stage, the dentist will recommend a direct restoration called a filling. It is normally made with resins of the same tooth color called composites.
• Crowns or inlays. When caries has become very widespread and has destroyed a lot of dental structure, a filling is not enough because the tooth is at risk of fracture. In these cases, it is recommended to partially cover the tooth with a ceramic inlay/onlay or completely with a ceramic or metal-ceramic crown. These are called indirect restorations because they are done in the dental laboratory.
• Endodontics. Once caries has advanced and has reached the pulp of the tooth or nerve, the indicated treatment is a root canal. Root canal treatment is what is commonly called ‘killing the nerve’. It involves treating the root canals by emptying and plugging them with a material called gutta-percha. Once the tooth has been treated, an inlay or crown may be necessary depending on how destroyed the tooth is.
• Tooth extraction. Sometimes cavities have advanced so far that the only option is tooth extraction. If that is the case, that tooth can be replaced with a dental implant, a bridge or a removable prosthesis