Tooth decay is possibly one of the most uncomfortable (and one of the most common) dental ailments. This ailment can lead to other problems, including tooth loss and brain abscess. Find out if you are experiencing tooth decay and the options available to you for treatment.
[RELATED: Find out everything you need to know about any common dental procedure in our comprehensive guide: Common Dental Procedures Explained.]
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Wondering if your pain could be a symptom of tooth decay? There are several symptoms (other than pain) you should look out for. A few of these symptoms include:
The most common symptom of tooth decay is the pain that’s associated with it. The pain often manifests itself differently in each patient. Some people experience intense pain for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Others experience the pain in conjunction with hot or cold foods. Sweets can also cause pain in decayed teeth.
Some patients don’t feel pain at all. Instead, they experience sensitivity in their teeth.
Some patients also notice their teeth stain more easily. If you find black or brown stains on your teeth (not the result of plaque), you may want to see your dentist.
Pits (or small holes) in the teeth are never a good sign. If you find pits on your teeth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible.
Why Treat Tooth Decay
Your dental health can be an indicator of overall body health. You may think that your dental health only affects your teeth, but it can affect your brain, sinuses and heart. Some of the effects of tooth decay include:
- Brain abscesses
- Decay in other teeth
Many patients are under the false assumption that failing to treat a decayed tooth will not lead to other problems. You’ll want to see your dentist as soon as possible after discovering tooth decay to prevent future problems. If a decayed tooth is left untreated for too long, the symptoms will only increase and it will be more difficult to treat.
Options for Treating Tooth Decay
Luckily, there are plenty of treatment options for tooth decay. It’s best to catch decay as early as possible. Sometimes you can even avoid fillings, crowns, root canals and extractions altogether. Your dentist may simply suggest fluoride treatments to reverse the cavity and decay. If the decay has spread, your dentist will recommend one of the following treatments.
The second easiest treatment for tooth decay is for your dentist to remove the decayed portion of your tooth and fill in the removed area.
When the decay spreads too rapidly, some patients might need crowns instead of just fillings. A crown is a synthetic material that covers a larger area. Crowns are often used when the decay has taken over too much of the tooth for your dentist to use a filling.
Sometimes the decay can even spread to your tooth pulp. A root canal is when the decay is scraped from the pulp. Your dentist will usually ask you to come back for a second appointment to fill the tooth.
If the tooth is badly damaged, it may not be viable anymore. In this case, your dentist may simply extract your tooth. You may choose to replace the tooth with a denture or a bridge.
While tooth decay is no joke, there are plenty of treatment options. You and your dentist can decide which treatment will offer the best results. If you feel that you may need one of the bespoke procedures done, the dentists at Main Street Dental would be happy to set up a consultation with you.