Development Of Caries: Cavities At Different Stages
Posted on 5/9/2022 by Mark Bieber
Tooth decay, also known as caries or cavities involves damage to a tooth from bacterial activity. The tooth structure is destroyed when bacteria within the mouth release acids that cause demineralization. Your risk for developing cavities or decay may increase if you consume sugary and starchy foods and have poor oral hygiene habits. But dental cavities never form in a day, it can take up to six months or even years before cavities require treatment. The stages of tooth decay are:
Development of White Spots
Having white spots shows that demineralization is occurring. This is due to the frequent attack from acids and sugars on your teeth. These white spots form beneath the enamel and tend to be difficult to see.
Breakdown of Enamel
The second stage in tooth decay is the breakdown of the tooth's surface. At this point, decay has progressed past the natural remineralization. Therefore, proper minerals are not able to be restored because there is a lesion that has formed within the tooth. Eventually, decay begins to move towards the surface of the tooth, often breaking through the enamel's outer surface.
Decay into Dentin
As decay reaches the third stage, you may start feeling some discomfort. At this stage, the decay affects the dentin, which is the hard, porous tissue found directly beneath the enamel.
When decay reaches the center part of a tooth, you start having extreme pain. The pulp has soft connective tissue, nervous and vascular elements, as well as lymphatic elements. Instead of having tooth filling, you may need to get a root canal procedure to extract the infected tissue.
The final phase of cavity development occurs when an abscess forms on the affected tooth. Usually, it is the most painful of the different stages because the infection has progressed to attack the root tip. The gums and tongue may swell as the abscess forms, often impacting your ability to eat and talk comfortably. A root canal treatment or extractions are often needed in this stage. Oral surgery may be needed for more severe cases. Left untreated, an abscess in the tooth can be fatal. To find out more regarding tooth decay development and treatment, schedule an appointment with our dental team.
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