Signs and Causes of Tooth Decay

Taking good care of your teeth is a great way to feel more confident. At the same time, good oral hygiene protects us from tooth decay, which can lead to pain, infection, and lost teeth if left untreated. It’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of tooth decay, so you can act immediately before complications arise. Dr. Klayman and the team at Red Bank Smiles offer preventative dental care services and tooth decay treatment to restore your smile and good oral health as soon as possible.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay occurs when plaque and calculus buildup on your teeth. Our mouths are full of bacteria, which feeds on the sugars and starches we eat. This bacteria forms plaque, which is a thin, sticky film that hardens into calculus over time. The calculus creates a shield for the bacteria in plaque, making it harder to remove and allowing its acids to eat away at tooth enamel. Cavities, or holes, eventually form in the tooth enamel, giving acids a direct route to the dentin inside your teeth.

Diet is often a leading cause of tooth decay. Foods like milk, honey, soda, cookies, and chips all cause tooth decay because they cling to the teeth after eating, coating them in acid-producing bacteria. If you frequently find yourself snacking and sipping sugary drinks, eliminating these foods and beverages can help reduce your risk for tooth decay.

A lack of fluoride also contributes to tooth decay. This naturally occurring chemical is added to many municipal water supplies and can be found in some types of toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride helps reverse the early effects of tooth decay to keep teeth healthy and strong.

Symptoms of Tooth Decay

While the signs of tooth decay vary, most of the symptoms are noticeable. They include:

  • Sensitivity
  • Pain when drinking or eating hot, cold, and sweet foods and beverages
  • Visible cavities, or pits, in your tooth enamel
  • Black or brown tint on the tooth’s surface
  • An unusual odor

The signs of tooth decay should never be ignored. Without pain, however, it can be difficult to determine if tooth decay is occurring. Because of this, regular preventative dental care is the best way to prevent and identify tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Treatment

If left untreated, cavities worsen over time, leading to intense pain, abscesses, structural damage, and even loss of the tooth. Fortunately, Dr. Klayman provides several restorative treatments to help eliminate decay and stop discomfort. These include:

  • Composite or amalgam fillings: Damage is removed and the resulting hole is filled with a composite material or metal.
  • Inlays: Inlays are ideal when decay damages larger areas.
  • Onlays: An onlay is preferred when the biting area of a back tooth is affected.
  • Crowns: Crowns are affixed to the top of the tooth to restore its shape and size after substantial damage.

The dentist will work with you to determine which restorative option is best suited to your needs. These procedures are often completed with natural-looking materials to ensure a beautiful smile and better oral health.

Schedule Tooth Decay Treatment Today

Tooth decay is common in all age groups, but ignoring it puts you at serious risk. If you suspect you have a cavity or need help with tooth decay prevention, call 732-741-1052 to speak with Heidi and schedule an appointment at Red Bank Smiles. We’ll provide comprehensive care in a comfortable environment to relieve pain and stop the spread of tooth decay.

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Red Bank Smiles | 180 River Rd | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | 732-741-1052 | [email protected]