How Cavities Can Lead to Tooth Loss
By Dr. David Wyse on September 16, 2016
The team at Chrisman & Wyse Cosmetic & General Dentistry is here for the people of Bloomington. We offer the latest in advanced restorative dentistry treatments, always with a focus on improving the health of the teeth and gums.
Early detection and treatment is best, which is why we want to catch cavities as soon as possible and make sure they're filled. As you're about to read, cavities may seem small, but they can eventually cause missing teeth.
What Are Cavities?
Also known as tooth decay and dental caries, cavities are the result of oral bacteria eating away at your tooth structure. The bacteria feeds on food particles between your teeth, creating an acid. This acid mixes with the bacteria, food particles, and saliva to create a substance known as plaque. The plaque is harmful if not cleaned, allowing bacteria to remain in place and do more damage to the tooth structure.
Different Degrees of Tooth Decay
Minor cavities will not lead to tooth loss, let's get that issue out of the way. The primary concern is that the minor cavity is not treated in a timely manner. When this happens, the tooth decay can affect the interior structures of a tooth. Once the decay has breached the enamel layer of a tooth, it can then do damage to the dentin of a tooth and the interior soft tissue known as dental pulp. This can lead to a host of problems.
As tooth decay progresses, it leads to teeth that are weaker and more susceptible to serious damage. Even biting and chewing on relatively soft foods can make chips, cracks, and serious tooth damage more likely. This can result in a tooth so damaged that it is more likely to come loose or fall out.
Tooth Decay Below the Gumline
If you have suffered from gum recession, tooth decay that occurs below the gumline is especially harmful. Teeth are far weaker near the root (the portion concealed by the gums) than they are at the crown. Tooth decay below the gumline may increase your chances of tooth loss.
Root Canal Infections
With weakened teeth as well as tooth decay at or beneath the gumline, the risk of root canal infection increases. This means that the bacteria in the mouth passes the enamel and dentin layers of the teeth and arrives at the pulp chamber. This is the hollow center of a tooth that contains dental pulp, which is soft tissue that aided in the development and maturation of a tooth.
A root canal infection can be very painful, and there's a possibility that the infection could spread to other parts of the mouth. When a tooth cannot be saved, the best option for treatment is often the extraction of the infected tooth.
Treatments for Cavities
There are many different restoration options to consider, so thankfully tooth decay can be addressed at various stages. This includes:
- Dental fillings
- Dental crowns
The best restoration for you and your needs can be discussed in greater detail during your consultation at the practice.
Treatments for Missing Teeth
When treating missing teeth, there are a few different options to consider. Dental bridges and dentures are the most common solutions. Dental implants may be considered to anchor an appliance in place. The ideal option for your needs will depend on the extent of your tooth loss and the health of your jawbone and gum tissue.
Tips for Cavity Prevention
The best way to have a healthy smile that lasts for years is preventative at-home care. Consider the following tips:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss your teeth at least once a night
- Avoid smoking and tobacco products
- Avoid snacking on candy and junk food
- Limit your consumption of soda and sugary drinks
Learn More About Tooth Decay
If you would like to learn more about treating tooth decay and helping you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible, be sure to contact our experienced cosmetic dentists today. The team at Chrisman & Wyse Cosmetic & General Dentistry is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.
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“I love my "new teeth." I feel so much better about my smile. The staff at Dr. Chrisman's office was very friendly and professional. I would recommend them to anyone looking for excellent dental care.” Jennifer B