Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Hassan Abbas
Dental cavities or caries are the holes you see in your teeth that start forming when the acid in your mouth starts eroding enamel. If not treated in time, it can lead to severe toothache, extraction and infection as well. People of all ages can fall prey to it. You can prevent it by taking good care of your teeth, including regular brushing and regular dental checkups. And to cure it, you may look for Root Canal Treatment and other such treatments.
Let’s take a look at what caries actually are, who may get it and how to prevent it.
What are Dental Caries?
Dental caries is holes in your teeth that start developing from tooth decay. According to research, everyone who enters their mid-30s gets at least one cavity. It is a chronic disease that affects people of all ages. But you will find dental caries more in children because of two reasons; one is that they don’t brush appropriately because they don’t know the benefits of it, and the other one is that they consume too many sugary drinks as well as foods. So, it isn’t about the age, it’s about how severe the issue is which is then treated accordingly.
What are the different types of Dental Caries?
Tooth decay may cause issues for all the layers of your teeth. Not like dental caries start to form all of a sudden, it takes two to three years to form in the outer layer of enamel. But this decay starts affecting the dentin and pulp more quickly. The kinds of tooth decay are listed below:
● Smooth Surface
It is a slow-growing cavity that ends up dissolving the enamel. You can reverse it as well as prevent it by proper brushing and dental cleaning, for which regular checkups are really important. People of age between 20 & 30 are most likely to fall prey to this decay.
● Root Decay
This kind of decay is more common in older adults and happens because of gum recession. Its prevention is a bit difficult, but the treatment is even more difficult, almost impossible. The only way to treat it is by replacing the teeth with new ones. And since older adults end up losing their teeth because of their age also, it’s better for them to replace.
● “Pit & Fissure” Decay
Dental caries starts forming on the top part of your teeth’s surface. But they may affect the front side of your back teeth. Teenagers are more likely to face this decay.
All these types of dental caries can be prevented and treated in one way or another. You just need to be careful about your teeth by cleaning them properly.
Let’s move towards the causes of dental caries along with the risks associated with it.
Causes of Dental Caries
The development of dental caries is associated with a number of factors. Some of them are listed below:
- Bacteria present in your mouth usually feed on starchy and sugary foods as well as drinks. All these things are carbohydrates which are then converted to acids by this bacteria.
- The saliva in your mouth, the food intake, acid formed by the bacteria and the bacteria itself combine together to form plaque, a sticky substance that coats the layers of your teeth.
- With very less or no brushing, acids present in plaque start dissolving enamel, ultimately resulting in the formation of dental caries.
We may not feel it at a very young age but the plaque starts eating the teeth gradually, making us lose the teeth in the later days of our life. That’s why regular checkups, and endodontic treatments (if needed) are really important even if you are healthy and have no issue at all.
Risks Associated with Dental Caries
Dental caries leads to bad breath, and bad taste starts to develop in your mouth. This may also make you feel embarrassed while talking to someone. This may also cause facial swelling and bleeding, and you will face severe toothache. Your teeth will become sensitive, and you will feel difficulties while having extremely hot or cold drinks. Even dental care then won’t help and you’ll have to rely on dentist’s prescriptions.
Prevention of Dental Caries
Some of the preventative measures to avoid dental caries are given below:
- Tooth-brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. It is better to do it after having every meal.
- Taking your hands away from starchy and sugary foods.
- Regular flossing to avoid plaque.
- Dental checkup after 3 or 6 months.
These are gentle ways of preventing dental caries. If you fall prey to it and don’t treat it for long, you will need an extraction or may end up losing a portion of your teeth. Apart from that, advanced tooth decay leads to severe infection which may prove to be fatal also.
Best Treatment for Dental Caries
Having a simple toothache is normal, and you may get rid of it by visiting the dentist. But if the case becomes severe, it is better to go for an endodontic treatment which will require you to visit an endodontist. The endodontist will then recommend whether to go for a root canal treatment or simply use medicines.
Some people don’t know much about what a dentist does and what the responsibilities of an endodontist are. So, they visit the former, which isn’t a bad option either, but he/she may not be really good at it. So, endodontic treatment only suits a professionally trained dentist, aka endodontist. Either you are going for Root Canal Treatment or simple endodontic treatment, take a look at the severity of caries before time. Some of the treatment options you may go for include:
● Fluoride Treatment
If dental caries has just started, there is no better option for restoring your tooth’s enamel than a fluoride treatment. This may reverse caries also at times. Fluoride treatments have more fluoride in them than we get from tap water or toothpaste. These treatments may be foam, gel or liquid that is placed over your teeth or brushed onto them.
● Root Canals
When tooth decay starts reaching the inner part of your teeth, also known as the pulp, you will need a root canal. This is done for repairing and saving infected teeth without their removal. However, the removal of diseased pulp is mandatory. Medication is also done to avoid any further infection and the pulp is then replaced with a filling.
Fillings also known as restorations when the decay has gone beyond a certain stage and cannot be treated with simple medicines. These filling are either made of amalgam or resins, making them strong because of the presence of a number of materials in them.
● Dental Crowns
For weakened teeth, you may need a covering that will protect them from falling prey to any further infection. That custom-fitted covering is actually called crowns. The dentist drills some parts of the teeth to get this done.
There are multiple ways of preventing dental caries that will lead to a number of infections and can prove to be fatal as well. All you need is to keep visiting your dentist every now and then to avoid any such issue that may harm you or your body in any way.