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Riverview-based Dentist Discusses Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems. In fact, there are still some dentists whose practices are almost entirely dedicated to fixing it. Inspiration Dental of Riverview, FL offers this information:

patient with tooth decay symptoms

Just What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is the result of a process of demineralization of the teeth. This is caused by the acid produced by plaque bacteria. After it has gone on long enough, it makes holes in the teeth. These are typically called cavities, but your dentist may refer to them by their more technical name of caries.

What Causes Cavities?

You have probably heard that sugar causes cavities, but the process is a bit more complex than that. Simple sugars – refined sugar, starches, corn syrup, and the like – are readily used by plaque bacteria. As the bacteria break down the sugars, they release an overabundance of acid into your mouth. This acid breaks down your tooth enamel and causes cavities.

What Happens Next?

Once your enamel layer is made porous by the acid-based breakdown process, plaque bacteria grow into the newly-available surface. This brings their acid production further into your teeth. Eventually, an indentation or hole appears in the tooth. If it is still left alone, it will get bigger as the decay continues on. Finally, the hole gets close enough to the tooth's pulp that the pulp is affected by temperature changes, sugars, and certain other foods. At this point, you feel pain when eating these things.

Once some more time passes, the cavity will breach the pulp chamber, causing an opening between it and the outside. At this point, the pulp will become infected and start to die. In most cases, this is a very painful process. It can also cause an abscess, which is even more painful.

How Dentists Can Fix Tooth Decay

The standard fix for tooth decay is the installation of a filling. In this process, the tooth is numbed. Then, decay is removed with a dental drill, and the now-clean hole is filled with a hard, durable material. We always offer needle free fillings using our Dental Laser we call Lorenzo.

If the decay has been allowed to go on for a very long time, you may need a crown or even a root canal. Crowns cover the surface of the tooth with a hard material – typically, porcelain over high noble metal – to restore the chewing surface. If you have a root canal, the diseased tooth root is removed before the crown is placed.

Contact Us Today for Your Next Check-Up to Ensure You Aren’t Affected by Plaque

The best way to deal with a cavity is to have it filled before it can harm your tooth root. If you suspect tooth decay, make an appointment with us here at Inspiration Dental in Riverview, FL right away. Call us today at 813-677-1200 to schedule your next appointment.