Can You Reverse Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is ongoing damage to your teeth that can lead to cavities, abscesses, or tooth loss if left untreated. The damage itself is caused by the bacteria that lives in plaque—a sticky film that builds up on your teeth. All stages of tooth decay are treatable, but you can only reverse tooth decay when caught in its earliest stages. Visiting your dentist regularly is an essential part of protecting your teeth from decay. Just because you don’t feel pain in your mouth doesn’t mean your teeth are not at risk. Your dentist can catch signs of decay before you know it’s happening.
In order to best combat tooth decay, schedule an examination with your dentist if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages
- Pain when pressure is applied to your mouth or when biting down
- White, brown, or black discoloration on any of your teeth
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- You can see a hole or pit in your tooth
Diagnosing Tooth Decay
In order to to diagnose tooth decay, your dentist may do any or all of the following:
- Ask you about any tooth pain or sensitivity you might be experiencing
- Examine your mouth and teeth
- Check for any soft areas in your teeth with the use of dental instruments
- Use dental x-rays to take a look at the extent of the decay
The type of treatment that your dentist will recommend to reverse or stop the process of tooth decay depends on the stage it is in:
- Demineralization: you may notice a white spot on your tooth as a result of mineral loss. This first stage of tooth decay can often be reversed by professionally treating your teeth with fluoride.
- Enamel decay: The protective barrier of enamel on your tooth becomes weakened. This is when cavities form, which can be treated with composite resin fillings.
- Dentin decay: Pain becomes more noticeable at this stage because the decay has reached the soft tissue behind your enamel. This stage of tooth decay can be treated with a crown to cover the exposed area of your tooth.
- Pulp decay: At this point, decay has reached the innermost layer of your tooth and will cause your pain to intensify. This will most likely result in a root canal.
- Abscesses. The most painful and dangerous stage of tooth decay. Pain can spread to your jaw and your mouth becomes vulnerable to infection. This will also result in a root canal and possibly the removal of the affected tooth.
Preventing Tooth Decay
You can prevent tooth decay right at home by practicing excellent oral hygiene. The best preventative care routine includes:
- Brushing for two minutes twice a day
- Using a fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily
- Limiting sweets and snacks
- Receiving professional teeth cleanings every six months
Dental Examinations in Gilbert
Not all signs of tooth decay are obvious, which is why regular dental examinations are necessary in preserving your oral health. It is important to treat tooth decay and pain as early as possible. At Lifetime Family Dental, your comfort is important to us. If you are experiencing any tooth pain or are due for a cleaning, call us for a consultation or to schedule an appointment.