Dental 101 Part 1: Tooth Decay

  • By StarBrite Dental
  • 17 Apr, 2015

The 4 Major Dental Problems That Bring on Extensive Dental Treatment and Can Cause Tooth Loss


Taking care of your teeth isn't about making the dentist happy. It's about your quality of life.

We don't often think about it, but teeth are an integral part of our day-to-day existence. We use them to speak. We use them to eat. We use them to convey emotions through facial expressions.

Try to pronounce the word "fifth" without using your front teeth. Not so easy, eh? How about eating corn on the cob or a hamburger? Posing for a photo with a big smile?

Teeth are even vital for proper nutrition. If you're missing certain teeth, you tend not to chew your food completely, making it harder to digest-thus starving your body of nutrients while feeling full.

This is why preserving your teeth is so important: you really do need them. And unfortunately, when they're gone, they're gone. We're not sharks... we don't regrow teeth.

The good news is that, with modern dentistry, a little prevention goes a long way. If you get educated and take care of your teeth, chances are excellent you'll have healthy teeth to last your whole lifetime.

While there are many elements of good oral health, four issues stand out far above all others-issues that can cause extensive dental treatment or possibly cause you to lose your teeth altogether.

There are 4 important dental problems to watch out for, today we address tooth decay:

A tooth is made up of several layers. On the outside is a hard protective covering called "enamel." This is one of the hardest surfaces in your body. Below the enamel is a softer material called "dentin." Inside the dentin is the pulp of the tooth, also called the nerve of the tooth. The nerve of the tooth is a nerve just like any other nerve anywhere else in your body.

Tooth decay is when bacteria builds up on the outside of your tooth and starts creating holes in it. These holes are called cavities. The longer you let it go, the deeper they get. At first, you can't feel it because it's so far away from the nerve.

However, by the time it begins to hurt it usually has already eaten through to the deep layers of the tooth, and it is hurting because it's affecting the nerve. When decay gets so bad that it harms the center of the tooth, it is prone to infections called "abscesses" which often cause swelling and severe pain. To prevent this, we have to clean the entire interior of the tooth out, roots and all, after that the entire tooth needs to be filled. This is called a "root canal" because you're removing the tooth's nerve and all the nerve "canals" which stretch all the way down to the roots of the tooth, and this usually requires a specialist due to the complexity of the procedure.

The Simple Solution to Decay:   Bluntly, simple decay can ruin the entire tooth but the good news is that it's also easy to prevent. You need to visit the dentist at least every six months in order to keep an eye out for decay (cavities) as a regular dental exam and cleaning makes sure decay never even has a chance.

If you have any questions about tooth decay, and how to prevent it, please contact StarBrite Dental at   (301) 770-1070 , and someone in the office will assist you.


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