One of the oral diseases that we treat the most at Dental 6ta & E is cavities/ tooth decay, but few people are aware that they present this condition despite its frequency. Our dentist in Tijuana know that detecting cavities in time can mean fewer patient problems, both aesthetic and functional because in an extreme case teeth could be lost and then dental implants Tijuana would be necessary. That is why people must have the necessary information to act on time and go to one of our dentists.
What are cavities/ tooth decay?
Caries is a pathology generated due to an infectious microbiological process that destroys the tissues of the teeth. This deterioration of the dental pieces is attributed to the acid generated due to the excess of bacterial plaque deposited in the teeth’ superficial part. Although this problem is usually attributed to poor oral hygiene, the truth is that lifestyle, diet, and genetics also play a vital role in its appearance.
Cavities can appear at any stage, in babies’ teeth and in children, teenagers, and adults. However, this condition is usually more associated with the child stage; many adult patients we care, usually present this disease. This may mean that the damage caused by bacteria has already significantly damaged the teeth, causing nerve destruction and total loss of the affected tooth or teeth.
While many people detect this problem because they have some tooth decay symptoms, if not acted on at the right time where it starts a process of tooth discoloration where the affected teeth have small white spots which are becoming a yellowish color and then brown spots, which can be more complicated to treat the problem. If the person affected does not go to a regular dental checkup with a specialist, our dentists will not detect the teeth state category, which will affect oral health.
This type of cavity usually occurs in school-age children. It usually appears on the chewing surface of the teeth, in the upper part of the crown. This type of cavity can be detected more quickly because the teeth are discolored due to the damage that has already been caused to the tooth enamel.
This type of caries is characterized by small fissures or visible holes on the tooth surface; plaque bacteria directly penetrate the dental tissues, affecting the teeth’ condition and stability. It is usually common in the molars and adult teeth.
Poor hygiene, aggressive brushing, tooth abscesses, and periodontal diseases can cause gum recession. This causes the teeth’ roots to be exposed so that, as the tooth enamel does not protect them, the bacterial plaque can completely damage the dentine, thus causing cavities. If the patient already has a lot of damage, it can mean the loss of teeth; and is a reason to assume that oral health is weakened.
It is located between two joints of teeth, so it is usually more problematic to detect caries in this area. Since it is an area that is difficult to access, the dental plaque can concentrate on this part, so if it is not cleaned correctly, it will turn into dental tartar.
Also known in our sector as secondary caries, these can occur due to a filling or after an incomplete process of placing a crown to treat this disease. If professional cleaning is not carried out professionally, cavities can reappear in the area that has already been treated.
What are the causes of cavities/ tooth decay?
The excess of bacterial plaque is the main reason people can present cavities, mostly because in this thin layer deposited on the surface of the teeth, the bacteria responsible for periodontal diseases or those that release harmful acids that eat the teeth, i.e., caries, usually adhere. But the truth is that as specialists in the field, we can mention that the damage of these bacteria can be intensified due to different factors, such as:
Bad hygiene: If people do not carry out regular teeth cleaning, it will not be possible to eliminate the bacteria that affect the teeth’ appearance and function; so dental treatments will be required to improve oral health.
Dental crowding: The fact that the teeth are not well placed can make cleaning very difficult, so it is common for patients with this problem to have tooth decay symptoms. In these cases, a regular dental check-up is recommended so that professional cleanings can be performed.
Food: A poor diet can cause bacteria in plaque, especially when products with high amounts of sugar and soft drinks are ingested. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid sugary foods.
Genetics: It is common for many patients to generate caries problems or dental problems if someone else within the family circle also presents.
What are the tooth decay symptoms?
Through some signs given by the body, people will be able to detect if they have cavities; therefore, we recommend that people are always aware of the multiple tooth decay symptoms that can occur.
Dental discomfort or pain: Tooth pain is usually one of the first and foremost signs, and that discomfort always refers to a problem in the body, so if people present pain in the oral area and it cannot be calmed, it means that there is probably some risk for tooth or the presence of tooth cavity. So we recommend that we immediately go to our specialists to preserve dental health and avoid tooth sensitivity.
Broken teeth or tooth loss: Another of the tooth decay symptoms that people should be aware of is the loss or breakage of teeth. As mentioned, the lack of complete protection can generate dentine problems and the presence of tooth abscesses and sores.
Bad breath: This sign does not always refer to the consumption of some food with a strong smell, but bad breath and dry mouth are often caused by bacteria’s presence in the oral cavity. Therefore, if a person persists with bad breath despite dental hygiene and healthy food consumption, it is necessary to assist us to treat the problem and prevent the appearance of cavities that will significantly affect oral health.
Change in the color of the teeth: Various factors can cause the coloring of the teeth, but one of the main reasons is the presence of cavities, causing darker shade or black spots.
Dental abscesses: Another symptom of tooth decay is dental abscesses, which occur due to severe tooth decay caused by infections or gum disease.
What are the phases of caries/ tooth decay?
Phase 1. In the first stage of caries, white stains appear on the teeth caused by loss of calcium mineral, found in the enamel that protects the teeth. During this stage, patients need to use fluoride toothpaste, floss, and other dental products. This is to prevent the spread of bacteria and stop the teeth from decay.
Phase 2. In this phase, caries bacteria have already affected the teeth so that cavities can occur, usually very visible. It is necessary to go to specialists like us to immediately treat the problem and prevent damage to the root, vascular vessels, and the tooth’s entire core.
Phase 3. Here, the cavity caused by the bacteria has already advanced considerably, so this means that the damage has already reached the soft tissues, i.e., the dentin. The discomfort intensifies, and the dental pain becomes more and more continuous and unbearable; therefore, it will be necessary for our specialists to perform a filling to establish the dental piece in this phase.
Phase 4. The tooth has been so affected internally and externally; the infection has already damaged the entire tooth. The constant pain has become so unbearable that the person already finds it difficult to bite. Here, it will be necessary to opt for our endodontic treatment.
Phase 5. Known as the final step, all the damage caused by the plaque has generated the tooth’s death, so it will be necessary to proceed with the dental extraction and perform hygiene to remove and clean the area so that saliva production does not affect other teeth.
What are the treatments for cavities/ tooth decay?
The treatments carried out by our specialists in Dental 6TA & E will depend a lot on the gravity and the situation in which the teeth are.
Fluoride treatments: When the teeth are barely in phase 1, it is possible to treat them with products based on this element. Fluoridated water, fluoridated toothpaste, or fluoridated mouthwash can be an extra process in the hygiene routine. But to intensify the results, it is essential to opt for professional treatments.
Fillings: This process is performed after the teeth have passed the first phase of decay; the materials used are usually a tooth-colored resin, porcelain, or dental amalgam.
Dental Crowns: If the patient already has weakened teeth, this process is chosen, where the natural crown is removed and replaced with a gold, porcelain, resin, or metal-based one.
Endodontics: Once the caries is already concentrated in the dental pulp, it is time to perform this treatment. The main objective is that the tooth is repaired and preserved to avoid extraction.
Dental extraction: At this point, caries have affected the teeth so much that it is already impossible to save them, so the decision is made to extract and clean the affected area and then, if desired, replace it with an artificial tooth that allows the correct functionality of the denture.
How to prevent cavities/ tooth decay?
As mentioned, cavities can cause many problems that can be detected in time, thanks to the various tooth decay symptoms. Still, to stop their development or prevent their appearance, multiple actions can be taken for dental care.
One of the first actions that must be carried out is dental cleaning. Our specialists recommend that the dental care routine be performed 30 minutes after eating and that brushing should last at least two minutes. This is to ensure the correct elimination of bacteria. Within this proper brushing, always use a rinse or water with fluoride to strengthen the tooth enamel and use dental floss to remove food residue between the teeth.
Certain foods can cause tooth decay, such as sweet food that causes a sticky film where bacteria are deposited. To avoid this, it is essential to eat healthy products such as fruit juice or natural fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and nutrients that promote dental health, i. e., to have a well-balanced diet.
Drink more water
Water is an excellent method to eliminate excess food and avoid bacterial plaque deposits, so our dentists advise you to drink at least two liters of water a day and to have a bottle at bedtime.
Excessive bacteria can cause many oral problems, so people must always be aware of the changes and tooth decay symptoms that can occur to act immediately to prevent tooth loss. For this reason, at Dental 6TA & E, we always recommend that our patients regularly come to our facilities to avoid damage that could harm their teeth’ aesthetics and functionality.