Dental Cavities Forms in Four Stages
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 26% of Americans aged 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay, and that on average adults in this age group are missing 3 to 4 permanent teeth. There are a variety of reasons why these Americans are not enjoying the best possible oral health. To prevent dental disease, it helps to understand how dental cavities form:
1. White spots – The first warning sign of a forming cavity is white spots. Like what its name suggests, a white spot appears white and is thus, colored differently from the rest of the tooth. White spots occur when the enamel of the tooth breaks down due to the acids in food. Whenever you fail to floss and brush your teeth, you invite bad bacteria to stay in your mouth, and these bacteria are what damages the enamel even further.
2. Enamel decay – As mentioned, the enamel in our teeth can break down. However, this doesn’t mean it’s already too late and that the tooth cannot be saved. White spots are treatable. It’s only when the enamel decay persists, to the point it damages the surface of the tooth, that it becomes untreatable. The most recognizable sign of enamel decay is dark spots on the tooth. You need to see a dentist for enamel decay. Normally, they will repair the tooth cavity with a filling. But your tooth cannot regrow enamel.
3. Dentin decay – After white spots and dark spots have formed on your teeth, by now you should have already seen your dentist. If not, you can expect the decay to reach into the dentin. The dentin is a yellowish tissue that is protected by the enamel. Harder than bone but softer than enamel, dentin makes up the bulk of the tooth. Depending on the extent of the damage, your dentist can still repair the tooth with fillings.
4. Pulp infection – Have you ever experienced a toothache? Unfortunately, many patients will only see their dentist once they begin to feel pain and discomfort. As you know by now, cavities don’t form overnight; there are several stages to it where treatments are available at every stage. Once the decay has reached into the dentin and you feel pain, there’s a chance your tooth pulp is infected. Found in the center of the tooth, the pulp is made up of connective tissues and nerves.
This is how tooth decay forms and evolves. As soon as you see white spots forming, book an appointment with your dentist. In the end, you’ll be grateful you did, beaming wide with strong and healthy teeth.
For more information on dental care and dental services, contact us at 301-856-1122.