Tooth decay can be a very serious and unpleasant dental condition. It can result in pain, ranging from mild to severe, infection and ultimately tooth loss. Tooth decay does affect some people more than others, but it is true that with a combination of good oral hygiene and regular dental check ups it is possible to avoid tooth decay altogether.
Tooth decay begins when plaque and bacteria are allowed to build up on the surface of the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, filmy substance that coats the enamel and releases acids from decaying bacteria. These acids gradually erode the protective enamel layer of the teeth causing small cavities to form. This is the first part of the decay process. Once the enamel has begun to decay, it will eventually be breached. This exposes the softer, bone-like dentin underneath. This is also easily eroded by plaque if it is not removed by effective brushing or the decay not repaired with a filling or dental crown. Tooth enamel will not grow back once it has gone so dental treatment will be required to sure up the tooth.
Within the dentin there are many small passageways that lead to the dental nerve. Extremes of hot or cold can aggravate the dental nerve when passed down these passageways. Again these will need to be sealed off or somehow protected with dental treatment. If this decay process is allowed to continue, it will eventually penetrate to the root canal and attack the dental nerve. This will be in the form of a bacterial infection. This may cause a dangerous abscess, which is not only painful but can cause the infection to spread. As well as the abscess, if the infection is allowed to attack the nerve it may destroy it, which could result in the loss of the tooth.
Tooth decay can be prevented by better oral hygiene to remove plaque and bacteria. If the process has already begun, treatment from a Chepstow dentist is essential to prevent any further suffering or damage.