It is an acknowledged fact that sugar is terrible for your teeth. Consuming sugar and acids can damage the health and appearance of your teeth, as the plaque bacteria in our mouth thrive on them. What further pushes your oral health towards its doom is neglecting proper oral hygiene. When it comes to your teeth’s health, laziness and procrastination are not an option! Tooth decay has certain stages that occur gradually. Therefore, you should take care of your mouth.

The Stages of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay does not happen in one night. It is a process that slowly damages your oral health. There are five widely accepted stages of tooth decay:

1. Demineralization

Your tooth’s surface is the first to get affected by tooth decay. Being the hardest tissue in the human body, tooth enamel withstands much damage before it starts to wear away. The acids formed by the fusion of plaque and sugar demineralize the tooth enamel, weakening it. Over time, white spots start appearing on teeth due to mineral loss.

2. Enamel Decay

By the second stage, the white spots turn brown or yellow. Gradually, holes or cavities start forming in your teeth. The harmful acid slowly eats away the enamel layer as the stages of tooth decay progress. Your dentist can fix the cavity or brown spots with dental fillings.

3. Dentin Decay

The third stage of tooth decay brings pain. At this stage, bacteria reach the tooth’s dentin layer. As a result, your tooth will become sensitive to extreme temperatures. Dentin is softer in comparison to enamel, with tubes connecting to the tooth’s nerves. This makes it easier for the decay to spread and reach the pulp.

4. Pulp Damage

After infiltrating the dentin layer, the decay reaches your tooth’s pulp. It comprises blood vessels and nerves, which provide sensation to the tooth. Once the damage reaches the pulp, you will experience a lot of discomfort and pain. Tooth decay will cause irritation and swelling in the pulp. However, the tooth cannot expand, and you will feel intense nerve pain instead.

Pulp damage occurs in the later stages of tooth decay, requiring a root canal treatment.

5. Dental Abscess

Now, tooth decay reaches its final stage, when bacteria enter the pulp, and you get an infection. You will probably detect an abscess, or a pus-filled pocket, at the tip of your tooth’s root. Additionally, the pain will also increase, spreading to your jaw. Other symptoms include:

  • Swollen gums, face, and jaw
  • Lymph nodes in the neck will be swollen
  • Fever

What is the Treatment for Tooth Decay?

The treatment for tooth decay will vary according to its stages.

  • Fluoride treatment can reverse demineralization or initial tooth decay symptoms
  • A dental filling will treat enamel and dental decay
  • A dental crown if the dentin decay is severe
  • Antibiotics for dental abscess
  • Tooth extraction if the decay reaches an advanced stage

What Should I do?

Tooth decay occurs gradually in five stages. Initially, you will notice white spots on the teeth that slowly progress as the damage gets worse. Therefore, you should visit your doctor on the first sign of tooth decay. Dedicate a few minutes of your day to a proper oral care routine. Furthermore, never miss your dental cleanings, examinations, and check-ups.

Our experts at Smile 4 Ever Family Dentistry can treat your dental issues. Dial (281) 213-5668 to contact us.

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