You likely have experienced a cavity at some point in your life. Most people will form this early type of tooth decay and then receive prompt treatment with a dental filling to get rid of it. But if this decay remains untreated, it will advance and cause severe damage to your dental structure.
Do not ignore a cavity. Seek treatment to avoid the spread of this tooth decay by contacting your dentist as soon as you can.
If you understand the dangers that can accrue in your smile from advanced decay, you can feel more encouraged to consult with your restorative dentist. So read on to learn more about advanced tooth decay formation and treatment through responses to frequently asked questions from your dentist.
How Does Tooth Decay Form?
Tooth decay occurs when the natural bacteria in your mouth penetrate a weak spot in your enamel, the hard outer layer of your tooth. A healthy dental patient has strong enamel that can resist bacterial spread and damage. But a number of factors can lead to worn or thin enamel that bacteria can hurt.
For instance, enamel can erode due to the consumption of acidic food items, like citrus foods and drinks or tobacco products. Poor oral habits like inconsistent oral hygiene or teeth grinding can weaken the enamel as well.
Then bacteria can get into the tooth and start to eat away at the dental structure. When it creates a hole in the tooth’s surface, dentists refer to this as a cavity. Decay will not go away on its own, so you will need help from a dentist to treat the cavity.
Otherwise, decay will progress deeper into the tooth. It can make the interior, the pulp, highly susceptible to infections that may lead to irreversible damage that could even require extraction.
How Will My Dentist Treat Advanced Tooth Decay?
Dentists will treat a cavity by drilling away the decayed part of the tooth. Then they fill the resulting hole with composite resin: a dental filling. This creates a seal over the vulnerable spot of the tooth that prevents further harm.
Once gone, a cavity cannot return. But you can form a new cavity in that spot if you do not take care of your smile. An untreated cavity can progress to advanced tooth decay, affecting more of your tooth.
Treatment for this more severe decay will involve drilling more of your tooth to get rid of the damage. A filling cannot provide enough coverage after this treatment, so a dentist will use a dental crown to shield and protect the tooth.
But if decay penetrates too deep into the tooth, a dentist cannot reach it. They might then need to extract the tooth to stop the spread of decay and protect the rest of your smile.
You can then discuss tooth replacement options with your dentist to restore your smile. So save time, hassle, and money by treating tooth decay promptly. Schedule any necessary dental treatment today.