When we fail to practice proper oral hygiene habits, bacteria may manage to get the best of our teeth. Tooth decay is a painful reality for many people and can range in severity. It typically occurs when the teeth and gums aren’t frequently and thoroughly cleaned enough to effectively ward off harmful bacteria; which builds up over time and eats away at the precious enamel encasing the teeth.
If not consistently removed, bacteria festers into plaque, a sticky substance that attacks the teeth and can severely damage their integrity.
The most common incarnation of tooth decay is a cavity; which most people, at some point in their life, become personally familiar with. Cavities form as holes in the teeth when the acidic properties of plaque erode at the teeth’s surface.
Each case of tooth decay is unique, therefore it’s important to inquire how deep the cavity has intruded into the structure of the tooth. The tooth is comprised of three unique layers:
- Enamel: The solid outer layer where the cavity begins.
- Dentin: the sensitive second layer consisting of microscopic hollow tubes.
- Pulp: the core of the tooth, containing vital nerves and blood vessels.
The deeper that tooth decay encroaches into the layers of the tooth, the more pain and serious complications the patient will suffer. Some of these unfortunate symptoms include the following.
Pain and discomfort are almost guaranteed features of a cavity. As mentioned above, the deeper the cavity has penetrated the structure of the tooth, the more unbearable the pain will be especially if it reaches the pulp.
Toothaches can not only limit the function of your oral anatomy but if left unchecked, can become an intolerable obstacle to everyday life. Furthermore, as tooth decay encroaches beyond the enamel and into the dentin, this is where sensitivity, especially to cold substances, can become frequent.
Tooth decay not only impacts the tooth but may have both direct and residual effects on the surrounding gum areas. Severe tooth decay can lead the gums around the infected area to become swollen, contributing to more pain and further limiting the function of your oral anatomy.
Furthermore, severe tooth decay in the pulp has the potential to form an abscessed tooth. This consists of a pocket of puss accumulating within the gum tissue underneath the infected tooth and can be extremely unpleasant.
The longer the tooth remains in a state of decay, the more excessive and potent the bacteria will evolve. This can lead to an off-putting bad breath, which is not only unpleasant for the patient but all those around them- limiting their social interactions.
Beyond that, it can also lead to an awful taste within the patient’s mouth. This may prove inescapable for the patient, unless directly dealt with by a dental professional.
Spots and spots
Not only does it feel painful, tooth decay will undeniably tarnish the beauty of any white smile. Visible by others, if the tooth decay is left untreated it will eat away at the tooth, leaving room for dark-coloured spots.
With proper oral care habits and an overall healthy lifestyle, like avoiding smoking, avoiding diseases like diabetes, and maintaining a balanced diet- tooth decay will seldom plague your smile. If you feel any pain, sensitivity, or discomfort throughout your teeth, it’s important to contact a dental professional immediately! This ensures that they catch any decay before its damage reaches a certain threshold.