What Are Dental Caries?

Dental Caries

You may have heard the term “caries” mentioned when someone is talking about a cavity, and in short – “caries” is the medical term for a cavity. Decay on the tooth is caused by erosion of the enamel on your teeth, which is unfortunately done by acids not taken care of within your mouth. Bacteria naturally lives within your mouth, colliding and creating acids that harm the teeth over time. When the accumulate, they form a gooey substance called plaque.

It’s more than easy enough for your teeth to form plaque within the crevices and cracks within your teeth, harming the gum line when not taken care of. If you don’t brush and floss, you could be the next victim of periodontal disease. Don’t worry, as periodontal disease can be reversed, unless it’s been far too long and too much damage has been had on your mouth.

The outer portion of your crown and unprotected areas of your teeth can be susceptible to decay forming and can penetrate enamel. In having this occur, the enamel becomes just as vulnerable and soft.

Symptoms of Dental Caries

While caries that are in their earlier stages may not have any symptoms, as they grow, and you prolong care to the caries, their symptoms get more noticeable. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity towards hot and cold temperatures – drinks, foods, even the weather
  • Sensitivity when biting down

Diagnosis of the Caries

When a dentist diagnoses dental decay, it typically occurs within a normal visit – typically a routine one. Your teeth will be examined by the professional and may probe them with an instrument to assess the area and find any damages. If the dentist suspects any hidden cavities, an oral x-ray will be conducted.

Expected Duration of Caries

Unfortunately, the duration of the decay depends entirely on your plan of action, as well as the length of time the decay has been sitting there. Sometimes it takes years for the tooth rot to get to a painful level, while other times it can be within a few short months. Every single person is different and shouldn’t rely solely on the experience of another person.

Enamel that has been damaged by decay cannot be reversed, and you must work on fixing the damage that currently exists, while learning to prevent tooth decay in the future.

Prevention of Tooth Decay

There are quite a few ways to prevent tooth decay, and the seemingly obvious options include brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. When you do this regularly, you can avoid issues like periodontal disease, halitosis, tooth decay, and bloody gums.

You should also look towards a professional dental cleaning twice a year, while looking into chewing a type of gum that contains xylitol. When you eat this after you eat, you can counteract those decay-causing acids. Of course, you should read more about adding fluoride toothpaste into the mix for tooth strengthening.

When to Contact a Professional

While it may not be obvious at first, if a tooth begins to give you pain, contact a professional immediately.

Treating the Decay

The standard treatment from a professional is to fill the decay. If it becomes too painful, a root canal may be required. The decayed material will be removed, as well as the root that’s receiving pain. A crown will then be placed over the tooth to mimic the shape of the tooth. If the tooth rot is bad enough, the entirety of the unit may have to be removed.

Are you experiencing any pain and think tooth decay could be the culprit? Contact Smiles Dentistry at (416) 588-8004 today to get your mouth back into shape!