The Decay Dilemma: Navigating Treatment Options for Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, a prevalent oral issue affecting people globally regardless of age or gender, brings about various detrimental effects on both oral health and aesthetics. Fortunately, contemporary dentistry provides an array of diagnostic techniques and treatment modalities to address this condition effectively.

Fortunately, the dentist in Willowdale, North York, ON, and their expert team can help detect and treat tooth decay at the earliest to restore oral health and wellness.

Tooth decay, or dental caries, is defined as the destruction of the tooth structure due to the abnormal and uncontrolled breakdown of the enamel (the outermost hard surface of the tooth) layer. 

Causes of tooth decay

Inadequate or incorrect oral hygiene practices contribute to the accumulation of bacteria, leading to the development of dental plaque, a soft, sticky film that coats the tooth surface. This plaque produces acids, toxins, and other by-products that erode the enamel, forming small holes, pits, or cavities. Without intervention, tooth decay can progress, causing discomfort, inflammation, infection of the pulp, and eventual tooth loss.

Symptoms of tooth decay

Symptoms of tooth decay vary depending on the extent of the damage caused. Initial tooth decay exhibits no symptoms except surface discoloration and cavity. However, moderate to severe forms  may include any one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Constant tooth pain and discomfort
  • Pain radiating to the jaw and ears
  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sugary foods
  • White or dark spots on the teeth 
  • Bad breath
  • Deep cavity
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Halitosis (bad breath) 
  • It increased gingival swelling, redness, and bleeding.

Treating  tooth decay

Based on the symptoms and the severity of tooth decay, your dentist may recommend the following treatment options:

  • Fluoride treatment: This treatment helps treat mild tooth decay, such as pits and fissures. Fluoride helps remineralize the enamel, which can halt tooth decay and prevent further damage. 
  • Dental Fillings: The dentist will remove the decayed tissues and restore the tooth by using an appropriate filling material or cement.
  • Root Canal Therapy: The procedure that involves the removal of the infected pulp, replacing it with a biocompatible material, and restoring the tooth with a dental crown.
  • Tooth extraction: Tooth decay beyond repair is mostly extracted and replaced with suitable dentures, bridges, or dental implants.  

Tooth decay, a prevalent dental issue, presents with different levels of severity as it advances within the tooth layers. It begins with demineralization of the enamel, causing deterioration of the tooth’s structure. Symptoms may include pain and discomfort, which can vary in intensity. Identifying these indicators is essential for prompt dental care and successful treatment to preserve oral health.