What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is the most common dental problem we all face and it’s a term you will hear your dentist use regularly, but do you know what it is and how to stop it? In this blog post, we will give you an overview of the problem and some tips for stopping tooth decay in its tracks.

If you think that you’re suffering from tooth decay already, please come and visit our dentist in Marbella and get it checked out. The sooner the problem is treated, the less pain you will experience and the easier it is for us to resolve, so time really is of the essence.

So what is tooth decay? Very simply, it is damage caused to the teeth by bacteria, which create acids that eat away at a tooth. This can cause a hole (cavity) through the enamel and in extreme cases reach the dentin, or the pulp of the tooth. If it reaches the pulp, you will experience a lot of pain, as this is where the nerves are, so try to spot this early and seek help from your dentist.

Look out for toothache, swelling of the gums, bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, or white, grey, brown or black spots in your mouth. These are all tell-tale signs of tooth decay, or other issues which need professional help from an experienced dentist.

Tooth decay is caused by plaque sticking to the teeth, containing bacteria which feed on the sugars in your food and then create acids which attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after you eat, destroying your enamel and causing the decay. To stop this process, avoid high sugar foods, especially sticky ones and brush your teeth or chew sugar free gum after meals and snacks, to help remove this plaque. A big no no, is snacking before bedtime, and not brushing before you go to sleep, as the bacteria will have a long time to do its work.

If you have tooth decay, we have various treatment methods, depending on the severity of the decay. We can remove the decay from a cavity and then fill the hole with a filling. Alternatively, if the decay is severe, we can use a crown or cap, to replace the damaged part of the tooth.

In more extreme cases, when the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth and caused infection, we will need to do a root canal to remove the infected pulp and restore it to health. If we can’t save the tooth, we can remove it and replace it with an implant, but we will only do this if we do not have any other options, as it is always better to save the natural tooth.

The best advice we can give you for avoiding tooth decay and the associated dental work needed is to take good care of your teeth, brush and floss regularly, eat a low sugar diet and drink plenty of water or chew sugar free gum after high sugar foods and of course visit your dentist regularly. Make sure that as soon as you experience toothache, even if it comes and goes, that you go and see your dentist for a check-up, to ensure that the tooth decay does not progress too far and lead to more invasive dental work.

MarDenta is a dentist in Marbella, with an excellent team of highly qualified dentists who will help you to deal with any dental problem, including tooth decay. Our team are passionate about patient care, making you feel comfortable, calming any fears and being totally transparent, so you are able to make the right decisions. We can treat the whole family and are here to help children and adults to keep their mouth healthy, stop toothache and help you to get the perfect smile.

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