At Brookwater Dental, Springfield, we are excited to be able to take care of all the dental needs of the surrounding communities. While there is an array of dental issues, the most common we diagnose patients with is Dental Decay (Caries). Most people have heard of dental decay, yet not everyone knows what it actually means. At our dental clinic, located in Springfield, we strongly believe education of dental problems is the strongest tool in fighting it.
Dental Decay – what is it?
Dental Decay, which in the dental profession is termed Dental Caries, quite simply put is a hole in a tooth. The hole/cavity is caused when the tooth gets infected. These ‘holes’ do not appear overnight and it is a gradual process.
Ok – so how does the ‘hole’ form?
The very first event required for tooth decay to develop is food getting trapped around a tooth. In some patients this occurs due to a lack of proper cleaning technique. In other cases the anatomy of the teeth and their position make it extremely difficult to keep certain areas clean.
When food accumulates, bacteria, which are naturally present in the mouth, colonize these areas as they now have an easy meal. The combination of food and bacteria form a layer on the tooth referred to as plaque.
A natural byproduct of plaque is acid. This occurs as the bacteria ingest the food and produce acid as a byproduct. Over time, this acid weakens the surface of the tooth and eventually creates a cavity.
If left untreated the cavity will simply continue to grow and result in sensitivity, teeth breaking, pain and spread of infection through the mouth and body.
Sounds serious –how can I treat it?
Treatment depends on when the decay is spotted. The earlier it is spotted the easier it is fixed. That is why at Brookwater Dental, Springfield we recommend regular check ups. Tooth decay often progresses symptom free until the day you end up with a swollen face, severe toothache or a broken tooth. It is at this stage that treatment becomes more complex and expensive.
If attending regular checkups however, the dentists at Brookwater Dental will identify high-risk areas where plaque is building up. By informing you of these regions, with a bit of improvement in your cleaning technique you can prevent decay arising in these spots.
If decay has already formed treatment will be different. Early decay/small holes are treated with a simple white filling. For these early-identified cavities an injection is often not required. The later the cavity is spotted the larger the filling becomes. Larger fillings can lead to a weaker tooth and a longer appointment and therefore the earlier a tooth is treated the better.
What is the best way to prevent Tooth Decay?
Knowing what you now know, you can see why at Brookwater Dental, Springfield we strongly believe prevention is the best form of treatment.
The only way to prevent tooth decay is with thorough cleaning, which includes flossing and a professional dental clean at the dentist. This will prevent plaque build up, which will then prevent the formation of cavities.
Sometimes, even with thorough cleaning, certain hard to reach areas will always trap food and eventually decay. It is, therefore, still recommended to come for regular dental check ups. As well as this there are still a myriad of other dental issues we are here to identify and fix.
We will get to some of those other issues in our future posts.
Hope this has helped!!!!