Whether it’s an adult or kids’ dental care, cavities and tooth decay are some of the most common ailments dentists treat. As with most dental diagnoses, it’s easier to prevent tooth decay than treat it. Find out more about the causes and how to prevent tooth decay for you and your family.
How to fix tooth decay – What causes decay?
Tooth decay is easiest explained as damage to your teeth. It’s caused by bacteria and can result in cavities, abscesses, toothache, and, in more advanced stages or complex cases, loss of the impacted tooth/teeth.
The bacteria that causes tooth decay is found in plaque which is why good oral hygiene supported by regular visits to the dentist is so important. Waiting until you feel pain or discomfort to have a dental check-up increases the risk of decay progressing, leading to cavities and potential tooth loss.
Kids’ dental care is particularly important in the fight against tooth decay because children aren’t always the best at cleaning their teeth properly, no matter how much parental support and supervision they get.
Even though children eventually lose their baby teeth, losing them too early due to tooth decay can compromise their adult teeth, increasing the risk of them not growing straight. This is why kids’ dental care is just as important as it is for adults.
So, before talking about how to fix tooth decay, how do you even know you have it?
How do I know I have tooth decay?
Patients often don’t know that their teeth have decay or cavities, especially in the early stages when there is no pain. You may sometimes notice white or brown spots on the teeth during early tooth decay, but just because you can’t see visible signs or feel any symptoms, it doesn’t mean it isn’t developing.
Some telltale signs you should be on the lookout for include:
- Changes in tooth colour, such as discolouration to all or part of the tooth
- Increased sensitivity
- Pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums
How to fix tooth decay?
Treatment of tooth decay and cavities depends on the severity of the case and the individual’s situation. Treatment options include:
- Fluoride treatment can help restore tooth enamel and may reverse a cavity in the early stages.
- Fillings are the primary option when decay has gone past the early stages. White dental fillings blend seamlessly into the smile so no one can see them. When properly bonded and sealed, fillings can be very long lasting. Root canal therapy may be required when decay and disease have spread to the tooth’s inner pulp.
- Crowns are typically needed when a tooth has been weakened by extensive decay.
- Extractions are a last resort when a tooth is too severely decayed to restore.
You often won’t know if you have tooth decay, so dentists advocate regular check-ups to help prevent tooth decay. They can diagnose tooth decay early before it becomes more complex and expensive to treat. Taking an x-ray can check how deep the decay has progressed. Seeing their parents take good care of their teeth is an essential part of kids’ dental care, so make sure you involve the whole family in caring for their teeth.
Are you overdue for a check-up?
If you haven’t visited the dentist in a while or are concerned about how to fix tooth decay, contact the friendly team at Dental Excellence on (02) 6188 7293. We’ve been taking care of Canberra’s smiles for over 40 years and can’t wait to help you too.
Science Daily – Children’s Premature Tooth Loss Can Affect Oral Health For Years To Come
Medical News Today – What To Do About Brown Spots On Your Teeth
Mayo Clinic – Cavities/Tooth Decay