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What is Tooth Decay? How to Treat a Decayed Tooth?

Dental caries is defined as damage to the tooth surface or enamel. Factors that can cause cavities include bacteria, frequent consumption of sugary foods and lack of dental hygiene. If left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection and tooth loss. Treatment of dental caries is performed by a dentist specialist depending on the condition of the person and the caries.

What is Tooth Decay? How to Treat a Decayed Tooth?

Correct and regular dental and gum care can prevent this situation. Gargling with salt water or using clove oil for tooth decay pain are among the natural methods that are good for tooth decay.

What are the Symptoms of Tooth Decay?

Symptoms of tooth decay vary depending on the location, size and depth of the decay on the tooth surface or enamel. While there may not be any symptoms at the beginning, the symptoms that may appear in the following periods are as follows:

  • Sudden onset of toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Mouth odor
  • White, black or brown spots on the tooth surface
  • Visible pits or holes in teeth

If the treatment of decayed teeth is delayed or not performed, decay can progress and reach the surface and roots of the tooth. In such cases, a specialist dentist should first be examined and the person should have the necessary controls.

Why Does Tooth Decay Occur? What are the Risk Factors?

Some of the bacteria in the mouth are beneficial, while others can be harmful. The main cause of tooth decay is plaque on the teeth. Consuming too many sugary foods and not taking care of your teeth afterwards leads to tooth decay. 

In the absence of dental hygiene, the bacteria in plaque convert sugar into acid and accelerate the formation of plaque in the mouth. Bacteria increase, calculus and tartar may appear. Tartar prevents the removal of plaque, allowing bacteria to remain on the surface of the teeth and the problem of tooth decay occurs. 

While risk factors for tooth decay include lack of dental care and eating too much sugar or starchy foods, some people have a higher risk of tooth decay, including:

  • Not getting enough fluoride
  • Not performing routine oral and dental care 
  • Not using dental floss
  • Reflux patients
  • Anorexia and bulimia

How to Diagnose Tooth Decay

Dental caries is diagnosed after an examination by a dentist. The dentist first learns the patient's medical history. The answers to questions such as how long the pain and complaints have been going on, their severity and frequency are important for diagnosis. Afterwards, the patient undergoes a physical examination and an oral and dental examination with special medical instruments. Dental X-rays are used to determine the caries in the roots of the teeth. As a result of the examination, the location and level of caries are determined and appropriate treatment planning is made.

How to Treat Tooth Decay

Treatment of tooth decay is carried out by the dentist, depending on the size and level of decay. If the cavities or cavities are new, or if the cavities have not developed, the dentist will use fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatment may include supplements in liquid, gel, foam or varnish form.

In case of progression of caries, dental filling treatment is performed depending on the decayed area. If the maintenance of the fillings is done correctly and regularly, the person can use the fillings for many years without any problems.

In cases where filling treatment is not suitable, tooth veneers are applied. These veneers, which come in different types such as porcelain and metal, replace the tooth.

In cases where the decay reaches the root of the tooth and damages the nerves, canal treatment is applied. It is important that the tooth surface is available for this treatment. In root canal treatment, the problematic area, i.e. the decay, is cleaned, the nerves are removed and a filling is applied. 

The last method used by dentists is tooth extraction treatment. This procedure is used when there is no treatment method left. After the problematic tooth is removed, the remaining cavity may damage the structure of other teeth. For this reason, dental implants or bridges can be applied to close the remaining gap. 

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

To prevent dental caries, it is recommended to take proper and regular care of teeth and gums and to keep routine dental check-ups. Brushing at least twice a day is effective against plaque and bacteria formation. You should regularly visit the dentist at least every six months, avoid too much sugary food or snacks and brush your teeth afterwards. 

If brushing your teeth is not possible at that moment, you can use mouthwash. This can be prevented by avoiding acidic liquids. Smoking and similar tobacco products and alcohol consumption should be avoided to protect tooth and gum health and prevent tooth decay.

Updated Date:08 March 2023Creation Date:04 August 2023