What is tooth decay?

Tooth decayThe lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure., what is it?

Tooth decay is caused when people neglect brushing their teeth regularly and consume a high amount of unhealthy and damaging foods and drinks. It is the result of plaqueA soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives. harming the enamelHard calcified tissue covering dentin of the crown of tooth. of the tooth and if left untreated can result in some problems such as serious dental surgery or at worse, tooth loss.

When plaque builds up on the tooth it creates a process which affects the gums and causes cavities (holes) to appear in the tooth. Further decay can then spread inside the tooth, infecting the pulpConnective tissue containing blood vessels and nerve tissue which occupies the pulp cavity of a tooth., which results in the roots becoming damaged and serious pain arising. Dental abscesses may also come about due to tooth decay, and this is when pus collects on the tooth or in the gums.

There are several symptoms associated with tooth decay:
•    Primarily, decay can lead to toothache, which is a constant pain that can lead to sleepless nights and disrupt your day.
•    Your tooth may become more sensitive and restrict your eating habits, as hot and cold foods and drinks can suddenly cause immense pain.
•    Moreover, tooth decay can turn the tooth grey, brown or even black, which aesthetically can appear unpleasant.
•    Your tooth may break as tooth decay weakens the tooth structure

If you have any further questions regarding tooth decay or if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your dentist and they will be happy to see you for an appointment and resolve any of these concerns. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year is a great way to keep tooth decay at bay.

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