Cavity in the tooth
A cavity in the tooth or tooth cavity is a common dental problem that may affect anyone. Basically it is nothing but a hole that is formed in the tooth. The hole is the result of setting in of tooth decay. Plaque build-ups are common over the teeth and the gums. Plaque contains harmful bacteria. These bacteria convert any sugary item that you eat or drink into acid. The acid erodes away the hard outermost layer of the tooth called enamel. As a result a cavity is formed on the tooth. The best ways to prevent this dental problem are maintaining proper oral hygiene and routine dental cleaning. In dental terms cavities are also called caries.
Different types of cavities
Every tooth in the mouth is prone to develop cavities. Here are some common dental cavities.
Pit and fissure decay – pit and fissure decay is common in teenage years. This type of cavities progresses rapidly. The cavity may occur on the top of the chewing surface of the tooth. a dentist with years of experience in dental decay treatments says decay may even set in on the front surface of the teeth at the back of the mouth.
Smooth surface – Unlike the pit and fissure decay this type of cavity does not grow rapidly. However it erodes away the protective enamel coating of the tooth. Sound oral hygiene proves helpful in prevention as well as reversal of this type of tooth decay. Mostly youngsters in their twenties develop this kind of decay.
Decay of the root – Root decay usually affects adults who suffer from receding gums. Gum recession is a serious dental condition. It exposes the roots of the teeth to plaque build-ups and acid formation. This particular type of decay is tough to treat as well as prevent. A periodontist is the most appropriate oral health practitioner to deal with these cases.
The problem of dental cavity and the UK
Cavities in the teeth are a common oral health problem in the UK. Is statistics are to be believed 4 out of every 5 people in the country suffer from it. People of every age group suffer from it.
Who are at higher risk group to develop cavities?
Cavity formation in the tooth is not an age-specific problem. It can affect a person at any age. Children who suffer from it are mostly those who ignore brushing the teeth properly. The problem is also found to be common among those who consume sugary foods and drinks more. As such the problem is also common among adults. Even new decay may start developing at the edge of a cavity that was treated in childhood. But receding gums is most common among adults. This oral health problem makes the roots of the teeth vulnerable to plaque build-ups. Plaque lead to formation of cavities.
The signs or symptoms of cavity
When a cavity sets in there is usually no pain. This is because decay of the outermost protective layer of the tooth or enamel causes no pain explains a dentist having expertise in cavity treatment. This is why most people ignore treating cavities in the initial stages. As the decay progresses and affects the inner layers of the tooth, namely dentin and pulp, symptoms start showing up.
The symptoms include the following –
- Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Pain in the tooth or in the mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Sensitivity in the mouth to hot and cold
- In advanced stages there could even be swelling in the face
Stages of progress of the decay
A cavity in the tooth can affect each and every layer of the tooth. There are basically five stages of progress of this problem. These are –
- Decay of the enamel layer
- Decay of the dentin layer
- Damage of the pulp and
- Development of tooth abscess
Now let us briefly discuss each of the steps of the progress of the disease separately.
At this stage the problem may appear as white, tiny and chalky spots on the tooth. The spot results from breaking down of mineral structure from the outermost tooth surface, explains a dentist with years of experience in providing treatment on dental cavity.
Decay of the enamel layer
As the problem is left ignored and untreated the decay progresses and breaks down the outermost enamel structure of the tooth. At this stage cavity could be possible to notice. Those white spots now turn light brownish.
Decay of the dentin layer
The dentin layer is just beneath the enamel layer. It is much softer than enamel too. At this stage the infection spreads much faster. At this stage a patient also experiences tooth sensitivity.
Damage of the pulp
Pulp is the innermost chamber of the tooth. it stores the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth. These nerves and blood vessels keep a tooth alive by supplying foods and nutrients. When decay affects this innermost layer a patient feels pain. There could even be redness and swelling around the diseased tooth at this stage.
Development of tooth abscess
If the problem is still left unattended it leads to an infection, says a dentist associated with SW19 Confidental in London. Pus is formed at the root of the tooth. There could even be unbearable pain that spreads to the jaws and the face. Swelling of the face as well as the lymph nodes in the neck is also common. In severe cases a tooth abscess can be life threatening.
Apart from the ones discussed above, avoiding a dentist visit is not at all good for your teeth which may lead to tooth decay. Don’t feel afraid to see a dentist as he can help you with routine check-ups and mouth cleanings in every six months. During the examination, he will examine the condition of your mouth and find if there are any signs of tooth decay. Thus, if any sign exists, your dentist at SW19 Confidental Dental Clinic will work to treat the problem soon and provide preventive measures to prevent further tooth decay.