A toothache is an extremely painful condition that most people suffer from at some point in their life. In a majority of cases, toothache is the first indication of the failing dental health of an individual and overlooking it can lead to greater complications including tooth decay and cavities. In fact, most people experience a toothache only when they developed a cavity which if not treated in a timely and proper manner can lead to the more serious problem of tooth decay. Even though tooth decay treatment is available, it is not only extremely costly but also really complicated and even painful.
Understanding The Causes Of Tooth Decay
Contrary to what most people believe, tooth cavity leading to tooth decay does not develop overnight. Rather it is the result of years of negligence and poor maintenance of oral health by the patients. The formation of plaque on the teeth and around the gums initiates the process of cavity formation and it is at this very stage that the problem can be prevented to advance further. Plaque formation generally leads to the demineralization of the teeth due to the action of the acid releasing bacteria, named Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus. Bad oral habits, such as not rinsing the mouth after every meal and improper brushing combined with unhealthy eating practices such as excessive consumption of diets rich in sugar and starch or even too much smoking can increase the risk of cavities in teeth by a significant percentage.
Symptoms Of Tooth Decay
Unfortunately, most people suffering from tooth decay do not experience any symptoms until the problem reaches an advanced stage. However, when they become apparent, the most common cavity symptoms experienced by people include the following.
- Appearance of a white chalky spot on the tooth indicating the dissolution of the enamel
- Change in the colour of the white chalky spot to brown as the decay process advances further
- Patients start experiencing toothache and sensitivity which is an indication that decay has reached the pulp
On an average, it takes a minimum of two to three years for the tooth decay to reach the dissolution of enamel stages while it takes only a year or even lesser for the problem to progress to the pulp stage.
Treatment Of The Problem
As mentioned before, the process of tooth cavity treatment is often quite painful and complicated. In most cases, the exact method of treatment depends on the stage at which the cavity is detected and the depth to which it has penetrated the tooth enamel. If the cavity is detected in the very early stages, its progress can be stopped by simply improving the oral hygiene habits of the patients. In some cases, the patients might be advised to use specific tooth care products for a limited time to help heal the damage already caused by the cavity.
In case the problem has progressed to a stage, where a hole has started to develop in the enamel, dental fillings are the most common method of treatment used. This comprises of the dentist filling the hole with a suitable substance after proper cleansing and decontamination to restore its strength. The filling also helps in preventing the progress of the cavity deeper into towards the root of the tooth.
In case of the patients where the cavity has already reached the pulp, root canalling or even completely removing the tooth might be the only treatment option available. This is because, at this stage, the enamel has already been damaged beyond repair and the cavity now threatens to destroy the nerves and blood vessels associated with the tooth.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Fortunately maintaining healthy teeth and good oral health is not as difficult as it may seem and requires only a bit of discipline on the part of the patients. Adhering to the below mentioned simple oral health guidelines can go a long way in preventing dental issues and making it possible for people to avoid the pain and discomfort associated with the same.
- Brushing teeth twice daily is one of the recommended methods of avoiding dental problems.
- Avoiding consumption of too many sweets or carbonated beverages can also help in ensuring healthy and good teeth for years.
- Properly rinsing the teeth after eating anything will help in flushing out minute food particles that tend to get stuck to the teeth and lead to cavity formation.
- Finally, excessive smoking should be avoided as it is one of the leading causes of the dissolution of enamel leading to tooth decay.