Tooth decay is the damage caused to your teeth by bacteria and acid. It involves the erosion of the enamel, the hard, outer layer of your tooth. Bacteria on the surface of your teeth can build up to form plaque, the sticky film of bacteria. Plaque’s bacteria creates acid that can attack your enamel. These attacks cause the damage to the outside of your teeth and eventually could damage to the inside, too. Tooth decay can cause cavities, infection, inflammation, and possibly to a necessary extraction of a tooth. Without treatment, tooth decay typically progresses through the following stages:
The first stage of tooth decay is when chalky white areas on the surface of the tooth begin to appear due to the loss of calcium and build-up of plaque. At this stage, tooth decay might still be reversible with the proper treatment.
The bacteria in plaque is metabolizing sugars into acid, which begins to attack the enamel. The enamel may start to erode, and a lesion may form within the tooth.
Stage 3: Dentin Decay
If a cavity is left untreated, bacteria and acids will continue to dissolve the enamel. The tooth lesion may spread within the tooth to the Once breakage in the enamel occurs, it is a cavity. A filling may be done to treat the tooth and stop the decay. Once decay reaches your tooth’s dentin, it can be painful.
If decay reaches this stage without treatment, the inner area of the tooth, the pulp, can become inflamed and infected. This may cause a severe toothache. A root canal treatment is often required at this stage to stop the decay, and a crown may be used to restore the tooth. Stages 5 and 6 involve a dental abscess, which is a severe infection of the tooth that may lead to a necessary extraction of the tooth to protect your health.
Did you know the stages of tooth decay? To schedule a consultation with Austin Prosthodontics in Austin, TX, call 512-250-9444. We also proudly welcome patients from Cedar Park, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Leander, and all surrounding Texas communities.