Knowing what to look for when it comes to tooth decay, also known as dental caries, can help stop it in its tracks before it becomes a more severe issue leading to cavities and more detrimental infections and damage. Tooth decay can strike at any time regardless of your age. While tooth decay is preventable with proper oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits, you can’t reverse it.
Surprisingly, tooth decay is more prevalent in children than adults. This is due to baby teeth having a thinner layer of enamel and being more sensitive compared to adult teeth. However, keeping baby teeth healthy is vital for eating, speaking, and serving as placeholders for adult teeth to grow in. Read more to learn about the four signs of tooth decay.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is also known as dental caries. As the hard outer layer of your tooth, the protective enamel breaks down, plaque is more apt to build and grow. Over time, this can cause decay which is what eventually leads to cavities and more permanent and severe dental health issues.
There are five progressive stages of tooth decay:
- Demineralization begins.
- Enamel starts to decay.
- Dentin begins decaying.
- Pulp becomes damaged.
- Abscesses start to develop.
What are Some Tooth Decay Symptoms?
So how do you know if you have tooth decay? Here we will share four of the common symptoms of tooth decay, which could all be signs that it’s time to make your next dental appointment.
1. White or Brown Spots
White or brown spots on your teeth can be an early warning sign as minerals are depleted from your teeth.
2. Sudden Toothaches
Toothaches that come on suddenly for no apparent reason could be another indication of increasing tooth decay.
3. Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity, particularly when enjoying something hot, cold, or acidic could be another sign of tooth decay and on your way to a cavity.
4. Painful Infections from Tooth Decay
Tooth decay can lead to painful infections so oftentimes you’ll develop a pocket of puss, known as an abscess which will be painful, causing facial swelling and sometimes even a fever.
How do you remove tooth decay?
While you can’t reverse tooth decay, you can keep it at bay and take steps to prevent it from getting worse. The best course of action is simply to take steps to prevent tooth decay from even happening in the first place.
When tooth enamel is gone it can’t be regenerated, but remineralization can help reintroduce the minerals lost in the enamel to help protect teeth. Calcium phosphate (hydroxyapatite) makes up enamel. Using toothpaste with fluoride or calcium phosphate can help bond to the sections of the teeth with missing enamel to help prevent further decay issues and mitigate cavities. You can read about some of Dr. Lesperance’s favorite oral care products, including toothpaste.
Tooth bonding or a tooth crown done by a dentist can help cover and protect the damage that has already occurred.
Experiencing Tooth Decay? Get Treatment in South Florida
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay, it’s most certainly time to find a top dental practice near you to help treat and care for your teeth. South Gables Dental in Coral Gables, FL is a top local dentist for all your dental health needs, including tooth decay treatment.