What are Dental Caries?
Dental caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, is one of the most common and one of the most preventable diseases. When you eat certain foods, the bacteria on your teeth break them down and produce acid that can severely damage the hard tissues of your teeth. The result is the formation of dental caries (tooth decay).
What Causes Dental Caries?
Generally, dental caries can be found in two specific areas of teeth: occlusal dental caries, which are formed on the uppermost part of the teeth. Here, the food particles repeatedly and directly contact the teeth, and interproximal dental caries is formed between the teeth. In these two places, bacteria can damage and threaten your oral hygiene.
If the teeth and surrounding areas are not properly cared for then the bacteria will begin to digest the residual sugar in oral food and turn it into an acid. These acids are strong enough to damage the enamel on the teeth and form small holes, which is the first stage of dental caries. As tooth enamel begins to decompose, the tooth loses its ability to naturally strengthen the calcium and phosphate structure of the tooth through the properties of saliva.
Dental Caries Treatments
Professionally, there are four main ways to treat dental caries. These treatments performed by dental professionals can help in treating the damage caused by dental caries.
Fillings: Fillings are the most common form of treatment for this disease. The dental specialist drills into the affected area of the tooth, remove the decayed material in the prepared cavity, and then fills the empty space with appropriate dental filling materials. Different types of filling materials can be used, depending on the area where dental caries occur. Composite resin is the most common filling material in developed countries. It has a rich color and can be used by dentists to repair the damage of dental caries to the teeth that are visible when you smile. For posterior teeth, some dentists prefer to use other stronger dental filling materials.
When treating dental caries, dental crowns are another option for dental professionals, and they are only used when most of the teeth are damaged by this disease. When tooth decay results in the need for a large amount of filling, the tooth becomes more prone to cracking, and eventually, it breaks. The dentist will try to cure the remaining teeth, repair them, and finally use alloy or porcelain crown coverings to fit the teeth.
Root canal: Another treatment available from dental professionals is called the root canal. When tooth decay passes through the enamel and stays in the center of the tooth, it may even advance further and damage the nerves in the root of the tooth. The dental specialist will remove the damaged or dead nerves from the surrounding vascular tissue (pulp) and fill the area. The process usually ends with the dentist placing a crown on the diseased area.
In some cases, the tooth may be damaged beyond repair, and if the infection is spread to the jawbone then the tooth must be extracted. Removal of some teeth may affect the alignment of the remaining teeth in the mouth, so it is recommended to insert partial dentures, bridges, or implants in these toothless areas
How to Prevent Dental Caries
Although unattended, tooth decay can also affect teeth, but a good oral hygiene program can largely prevent tooth decay or tooth decay! This includes brushing with an electric toothbrush at least twice a day.