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Raising Tooth Decay Awareness

AUG 08

Signs and Seriousness of Tooth Decay

You won't notice much sensitivity and pain until tooth decay moves throughout the enamel and into the dentin layer, the Academy of General Dentistry notes.

Dentin is composed of tiny nerve endings that become irritated and cause increased sensitivity when exposed to cold, hot, sweet, sticky and sour foods. You might also feel pain when biting down, and quickly discover that meals are frequently getting trapped between your teeth. Decay spreads quickly through our dentin because it's quite a bit softer than enamel. Decay throughout the tooth root also spreads rapidly, since the cement coating on the root isn't near as heavy and thick as enamel. 

Be cautioned that as tooth decay continues, your pain can be more frequent and extreme. It's important to keep in mind that infection develops when decay and bacteria reach the pulp of your tooth, which contains the vast majority of nerves and blood vessels. The pain of an abscessed tooth is persistent, severe and will probably keep you up at night. Other symptoms include fever, swelling of the face, and a bad taste in your mouth. You might see pus draining from a red swelling along your gum line and near the root tip. Consequences might be serious if the infection spreads into your jaw or through your entire body.

Tooth Decay Treatment

If your Woodland Hills dentist detects a little field of erosion along your enamel before it reaches the dentin, they might suggest an approach that will help repair the area. This process could include using potent mouthwash, toothpastes, or filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium and phosphates. Ask your dentist about using specific products for the treatment of early cavities, as well as cavity prevention. When tooth decay reaches the dentin, there's no turning back. A small cavity might be repaired with either an amalgam filling or a tooth-colored resin material. In case the tooth has lost too much of its original structure, however, your dentist might need to do a crown.

Crowns strengthen and restore form and function to your tooth, but they can end up costing quite a bit more than a simple filling. An abscessed tooth is the worst case scenario, and the treatment options are limited. You may either choose a root canal treatment or extraction, although our Woodland Hills dentist will usually only pursue tooth extractions when there is no other way to save the tooth. Should you need a root canal, your dentist or endodontist in Woodland Hills will remove the infected pulp before cleaning and sealing the pulp chamber. After receiving root canal treatment, the tooth can sometimes become more brittle and break easily. If you have lost a great deal of external structure due to tooth decay, your dentist can also recommend a crown for your tooth.

The longer you put off dental treatment of tooth decay, the more involved and expensive it becomes, and the more pain you may need to endure. Contact your Woodland Hills dentist today!

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