All about Dental Decay
Specific types of bacteria cause dental decay. They produce acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and the layer under it, the dentin. They take the sugar from the food we eat and breaks it down to form acids that destroy the tooth structure.
Initially one doesn’t feel any symptom apart from the appearance of a white spot followed by black discoloration of the tooth.
White spots indicate early caries which progress to get worse and progress deeper.
Prevention of caries:
1)Use of antibacterial mouth rinses is considered as one of the option.
2)Chewing gums with xylitol also help decrease bacterial growth. Fluoride application also helps reduce caries by strengthening the tooth structure.
3)In case the teeth have deep pits and grooves leading to food accumulation, it can lead to caries. This can be prevented with the help of pit and fissure sealants.
A tooth with caries can be restored with the help of fillings.
Many fillings are made of dental amalgam or composite resin. Amalgam is a silver-gray material made from silver, mercury, copper or other metals. Composite resin offers a better appearance because it is tooth-colored. Newer resins are very durable.
Amalgams are used in molars and premolars because the metal is not seen in the back of the mouth. Composite and ceramic materials are used for all teeth.
Caries if not treated can lead to deep infection of the pulp. The pulp is the vital part of the tooth with blood vessel and nerves. Infection of the pulp needs to be treated with a root canal followed by restoration with a crown.