Welcome to our dental library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.
What causes tooth decay?
Bacteria are the primary culprit in tooth decay. They produce sticky, colorless plaque on the teeth. Plaque contains acids that dissolve the enamel surface of the tooth, producing the holes in the tooth. The acids in the plaque gradually eat away the enamel, causing the holes to enlarge gradually. Although painless at first, tooth decay may eventually reach the inner portion of the teeth, affecting the nerves and thereby causing the pain. If left untreated, tooth decay will destroy the inner portion of the teeth (pulp) and/or tooth abscess, causing loss of the tooth.
What are the symptoms of tooth decay?
Apart from the visible holes n the teeth, many patients also complain of toothache especially after taking sweet, hot or cold food and drinks.
What tests should I need to take?
Tooth decay is readily apparent during your regular dental checkups. When no visible cavities are observed, dental X-rays may demonstrate the presence of tooth decay.
What are my treatment options?
Depending on the severity of the tooth decay, you may get dental fillings, crowns or root canals. Dental fillings replace decayed teeth with other materials such as composite resin, porcelain, silver alloy or gold. Crowns placed over the teeth are used for more extensively damaged teeth and are composed of the same materials as dental fillings. Finally, in cases where the nerve supply to the tooth has been destroyed, your dentist may opt for a root canal. A root canal removes the pulp and replaces it with a sealing material. A crown is then fitted over the teeth if necessary.