Of the many reasons why our patients are missing teeth – by accident, disease, or old age – one of the most common reasons is due to tooth decay, otherwise known as cavities. This condition is commonly thought of as a disease that only affects children, but adults can be just as vulnerable without proper care for their teeth.
Getting to Know Your Teeth
The first thing you should know if how your tooth is structured. Contrary to what you’re taught in school, it’s not comprised entirely of bone. Instead, the tooth sports a few layers, and as tooth decay eats away at each layer, it can cause severe pain as you get further into the tooth.
- Enamel – a hard, white tissue that encompasses the tooth
- Dentin – a layer of mineral substance underneath the enamel
- Pulp – a layer of blood vessels and nerve endings
- Cementum and Periodontal Membrane – connective tissue connecting the tooth to the bone.
When a person experiences cavities, they are often due to when the layers of the tooth are being eaten away. When it reaches much more tender areas such as the pulp, that’s when patients can begin to experience sharp pains.
Causes of Tooth Decay
While cavities are more commonly associated with children, adults with poor oral health care can be just as vulnerable to tooth decay and other forms of periodontal disease. When you eat, any leftover food particles and bacteria can become trapped between your teeth and fester, feeding the bacteria. When these bacteria feed on the sugars in the food particles, acids are dispensed in the form of plaque.
In addition to the bacteria, there are quite a few other factors that can cause tooth decay:
- Eating sugary food and carbohydrates
- Lack of fluoride
- Lack of saliva
- Poor oral care – lack of toothpaste or toothbrush
- Smoking or secondhand smoking
Warning Signs of Tooth Decay
The important thing is to look for the warning signs when it comes to tooth decay. When caught early, it can usually be filled in via tooth-colored fillings and root canals. Take a look at the list of warning signs below to see if you have been experiencing the beginnings of tooth decay:
- Toothache and sensitivity
- Sharp pains when consuming sweet, hot or cold foods
- Cracks and crevices in your teeth
- Discolorations and stains on the teeth
- Pain when you chew or bite
Contact Us About Dental Implants
If a tooth has suffered too much damage from tooth decay, the infection could spread. If a tooth is too far gone for fillings and root canals, don’t despair. Dental implants with Altschuler Periodontic and Implant Center can bring your smile back to it’s former glory, including crafting the implant to match your neighboring teeth and improve your oral health. Contact us today at our Gainesville, FL office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Altschuler, where he’d be happy to answer your questions, examine your oral health, and help you determine if dental implants are right for you and your oral health.