A significant number of people have dealt with a decayed tooth one or more times in their lives. This painful ordeal is caused by bacteria that thrive in dental plaque, a colourless and sticky film covering your tooth's surface. The bacteria are responsible for converting the sugar in your food into acid. You must ensure that these acids do not build up on your teeth lest they lead to tooth decay. You can do that by practising proper oral hygiene and seeing a dentist at least twice per year for oral check-ups.
Below are the stages involved in tooth decay.
Stage One – Demineralisation
Part of your tooth structure is the enamel which is the topmost part of a tooth. It is usually the hardest component filled with minerals. However, the mineral levels can significantly drop when plaque bacteria attack your tooth. It is easy to tell when your tooth is undergoing demineralisation. Check for some white spots on your tooth surface. If you notice unusual spots, it is time to see your dentist.
Stage Two – The Enamel Begins to Decay
As the bacteria continue to strip the enamel of its minerals, your teeth's white colour will begin to change to a brown shade. In the process, the enamel continues to weaken, and at this point, it will develop tiny holes called dental caries on the surface. If you visit a dentist at this stage, they will fill the holes to prevent further damage to your tooth.
Stage Three – Dentine Decay
Dentine is the second layer after the enamel. Unlike the enamel, the dentine is softer and more sensitive. So, if the acid gets to this section, the decay process is faster and more uncomfortable. That is because the dentine has some tubes attached to it, which extend to the nerves. As a result, you will find it uncomfortable when taking hot or cold drinks. However, your tooth is still salvageable at this stage.
Stage Four – The Pulp Stage
The pulp comes third after the dentine. It is made up of several nerves and blood vessels meant to keep your teeth in good health. It is also good to note that the nerves in the pulp are responsible for tooth sensitivity.
If the pulp is damaged, it usually swells. However, the tissues surrounding it do not have room for swelling, which leads to pressure on the nerves, causing pain. The discomfort at this stage is unbearable, and you have no option but to see a dentist right away.
Treatment for each of the above stages varies. However, the earlier you visit your dentist, the easier it will be to save your tooth and protect you from any discomfort. Contact a dentist to learn more.
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