Tooth decay is damage to tooth enamel (the outermost layer of teeth). which can fishr to the dentin layer or even the dental pulp which has many nerves and blood vessels. This condition can be experienced by anyone, including babies.
Tooth decay can cause pain and swelling around the cavities. In addition, chewing food will feel very uncomfortable. In fact, you can experience tooth loss which of course affects your appearance.
This Causes Tooth Decay
Tooth decay does not appear suddenly. Initially, the bacteria on your teeth will use the sugar from the food you eat to produce acid. The acid then sticks to and erodes tooth enamel, which in turn creates small cavities in the teeth.
When there is a cavity in the tooth enamel, the acid can enter the next layer of the tooth called dentin. This layer is not as hard as tooth enamel and is more susceptible to acid. When dentin is exposed to acid produced by bacteria, it can open a new pathway for acid and bacteria to enter the deeper part of the tooth called the dental pulp.
In the dental pulp, there are many nerves and blood vessels. If the dental pulp becomes infected, there will be swelling and inflammation. Because there is no space inside the tooth, the swelling puts pressure on the blood vessels, causing pain.
You are at high risk for tooth decay if:
- Rarely clean teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Often consume foods or drinks that contain a lot of sugar and acid.
- Frequent consumption of foods that can stick to the teeth for a long time, such as ice cream, milk, honey, dried fruit, sweets, and cakes.
- Drink less water.
- Using improper dental fillings.
- Suffering from certain conditions, such as GERD and anorexia.
If you feel you are at high risk for tooth decay, you should immediately consult a doctor, because at the beginning of the development of this condition, some people do not feel any symptoms. As a result, they do not know that their teeth are damaged.
By having regular check-ups with the doctor, tooth decay can be detected early, and prevention can be taken, so that you avoid the various bad effects of tooth decay.
Checks to Confirm Tooth Decay
Before treatment, the dentist will examine your teeth and mouth, while asking how your dental health history is. The doctor may also ask about your diet and habits in cleaning your teeth.
A number of drugs have the potential to cause tooth decay. So, make sure you tell your dentist about all the medications you're taking, whether they're over-the-counter or over-the-counter.
To confirm the condition of your teeth, the doctor may also recommend supporting examinations, such as dental x-rays. With this examination, the doctor can see cavities in the teeth, abnormal tooth structure, and possibly bone loss.
How To Treat Tooth Decay
Treatment for patients with tooth decay will differ from one another. This depends on the condition and its severity. The following are some of the treatment methods that doctors can use when dealing with tooth decay:
1. Filling teeth
Dental fillings are often the first choice if the damage caused by tooth decay has started to pass through the stage of enamel erosion. So that the hole does not deepen, the doctor will fill or fill the cavities with special materials.
There are many choices of materials for filling cavities, but composite resin fillings are more in demand than other types. One of the reasons is because dental fillings made from composite resin look more natural and almost resemble natural teeth.
2. Installation crown
Installation crown aka denture crowns can be a solution if you have large cavities in your teeth. In the process, the doctor will scrape and remove the damaged part of the tooth, then leave a little tooth to be used as a foundation crown or denture crowns.
Apart from fillings, these artificial crowns can also be used to correct the shape, size, and appearance of abnormal teeth.
3. Root canal treatment
If the decay has reached the inside of the tooth (pulp), the doctor will recommend a root canal treatment method (root canal) to handle it. This method is usually used by doctors to repair teeth that have been infected or badly damaged.
The damaged part of the pulp will be removed, then patched with special cement. The doctor will also clean the infected tissue so it doesn't get further damaged.
4. Tooth extraction
In very severe cases, the doctor may remove the damaged and decayed tooth. The removal process usually does not take long. Before the tooth is extracted, the doctor will inject an anesthetic in the gum area so you don't feel pain when the tooth is extracted.
Tooth Decay Prevention Steps
In addition to knowing the treatment options for rotting teeth, you are also advised to maintain dental health so that it can prevent tooth decay. There are several steps that can be taken, namely:
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day in the morning after breakfast and at night before going to bed.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a brush head that fits snugly in your mouth.
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that is useful for protecting, while maintaining the strength of tooth enamel.
- Clean teeth with floss (floss) to clean between the teeth, at least 1 time a day after brushing your teeth.
- Also clean your tongue regularly to prevent the buildup of food residue on the surface of the tongue.
- Gargle with water or mouthwash after eating meals and snacks.
- Drinking lots of water, besides being able to prevent dry mouth, drinking water can also help clean up food debris in the teeth and mouth.
- Limit sweet or sour foods and drinks, and eat a nutritionally balanced diet.
Having rotten teeth is certainly not a pleasant experience. Therefore, make sure your dental health is always maintained by going to the dentist, at least every 6 months. With regular dental check-ups, tooth decay that can trigger tooth decay can also be detected early.