Introduction To Dental Caries
Dental caries is a microbial disease of the calcified tissues of the teeth characterized by demineralization of the inorganic and the destruction of the organic substance of the tooth, caused by dental plaque deposits on the tooth surface (plaque is a sticky deposit on the teeth in which bacteria proliferate).
Frequency and timing of fermentable carbohydrates intake, which will be metabolized by certain bacteria, such as streptococcus mutans, bacteria are the culprits of the carious teeth, lead to fermentation and therefore produce copious amounts of acid and lower the local PH to a level where the minerals of enamel and dentine dissolve. The frequent intake of sweets, dry mouth, and poor oral hygiene may increase the chances of developing new carious lesions. Besides, some risk factors, such as sex, age, dietary habits, socioeconomic, and oral hygiene status, are also associated with the increased prevalence of dental caries in the population.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 60-90% of children are affected by dental caries. dental caries affected all groups, although children are affected to a greater extent than adults.
Over 100 years ago, Dr. G.V. Black, developed a classification of carious lesions based on the type of tooth affected (anterior or posterior tooth) and the location of the lesion (e.g. lingual, buccal, occlusal, etc.). According to G.V Black’s classification the six classes of carious lesions are:
The signs and symptoms of cavities fluctuate, depending on their extent and location. You may not have any symptoms at all when the cavity is just begun.
As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Toothache, spontaneous pain, or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
- Visible holes or pits in your teeth
- Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
- Pain on chewing
Early Childhood Caries
Early childhood caries also known as baby bottle caries or nursing bottle caries is a pattern of decay found in young children with their deciduous (baby) teeth. Mostly occurs in a child under the age of 6 years and the tooth which are mostly affected are anterior maxillary teeth, anyway, all teeth can be affected. The name of this type of caries comes from the fact that the decay usually is a result of allowing children to fall asleep with sweetened liquid or milk in their bottles or feeding children multiple times during the day with their bottles.
Complications From Dental Caries
Dental caries can cause a variety of complications if it’s left untreated. These include:
- Ongoing tooth pain
- A tooth abscess, can become infected and trigger life-threatening complications, like an infection that enters the bloodstream or sepsis
- Development of pus around the infected tooth
- An increased risk of breaking or chipping a tooth
- Difficulty in chewing food
You may cause damage to your tooth that can’t be reversed if you put off seeing a dentist.
Tooth cavities are a common dental problem, but you can reduce your risk by doing the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day with fluoride toothpaste.
- According to American Dental Association, you should floss your teeth at least once a day
- Eat less surgery or acidic foods like candies, soda, etc.
- Limit taking snacks between meals.
- Consider getting fissure sealants on your teeth.
The following foods can help fight tooth decay:
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
- Calcium-rich foods
- Xylitol sugarless chewing gum
- Unsweetened black or green tea
- Water with fluoride
Regular dental visits, a good brushing, and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay.
Your dentist can usually detect tooth decay by:
- Asking about tooth pain and sensitivity
- Examining your mouth and teeth
- Probing your teeth with dental instruments to check for soft areas
- Looking at dental X-rays can show the extent of cavities and decay
Treatment of cavities depends on the situation of your teeth, and how severe the cavities are, Treatment options include:
Daily use of fluoride toothpaste is seen as the main reason for the overall decline of caries worldwide over recent decades. Other than fluoride water, fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinses, one should consider having Professional treatments of fluoride which include liquid, gel, foam, or varnish that’s brushed onto your teeth or placed in a small tray that fits over your teeth.
Fillings also known as restorations in medical terms, are the treatment option when decay has progressed beyond the earliest stage. Fillings are made of various materials, such as composite, GIC, amalgam, etc.
For extensive decay or weakened teeth, you may need a crown, a custom-fitted covering that replaces your tooth’s entire natural crown. Crowns may be made of gold, resin, high-strength porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or other materials.
When decay reaches the pulp (inner material of your tooth), you may need a root canal. This is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The diseased tooth pulp is removed, and Medication is sometimes put into the root canal to clear any infection. Then the pulp is replaced with a filling
Some teeth become so severely decayed that they can’t be restored and must be removed. Having a tooth pulled can leave a gap that allows your other teeth to shift. If possible, consider getting a bridge or a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.
you should take care of your dental health and oral hygiene. In case of any dental caries seek the help of a professional dentist and do not wait for the progression or pain. Early dental treatment can prevent you from expensive treatments and worse conditions. take care of your tooth because they are important for your smile, and always keep smiling have a good day.