The most common reason for visiting a dental doctor is the so-called tooth decay. This is the most prevalent oral disease in the oral cavity. It involves demineralization and destruction of the enamel and dentin. Depending on the extent of the lesion, it is classified as superficial, moderate or deep.
Tooth decay can develop on all surfaces – occlusal (chewing surface), cervical (towards the gum), lingual (towards the tongue), labial (towards the cheek and lips), interproximal (between the teeth), or root surface. Depending on the presence of symptoms, it is divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic.
What symptoms can be identified?
- Pain with thermal irritants (cold/hot)
- Pain with chemical agents (sweet/sour)
- Pain with mechanical action – brushing teeth
- Food impaction between the teeth
- Presence of cavitation (hole) in the tooth
- Brown spot on the tooth surface
Tooth decay can progress completely asymptomatic. For this reason, patients seek dental assistance when the process has significantly advanced and has affected the dental pulp (the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth).
What can the complications be?
- Pulpitis – inflammation of the dental pulp (nerves and blood vessels)
- Periodontitis – inflammation in the bone around the root
Why does tooth decay develop – causes?
- Plaque and tartar accumulation
- Food debris retention between the teeth
- Displaced teeth – improperly aligned teeth
- Poor maintenance of personal oral hygiene
- Diet – carbohydrate-rich diet
- Frequent snacking – maintaining acidic pH in the mouth
- Defective enamel and dentin structure – dysplasia, etc.
The most common etiological factor is plaque accumulation. It represents a well-organized structure with bacterial deposits in an organic matrix. These microbial deposits attach to the tooth surface and can cause its destruction.
The risk of developing tooth decay increases with prolonged contact between microorganisms in the plaque and the tooth structure. Therefore, regular plaque and tartar removal (the so-called teeth cleaning) can prevent the carious process.
The team of dentists at Noradent recommends professional teeth cleaning visits every 6 months. Motivation and education in proper and effective brushing techniques and using additional oral hygiene tools – dental floss, mouthwash, interdental brushes, etc., are necessary. These preventive procedures are particularly important for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Methods of treatment for tooth decay
The non-invasive, or so-called non-operative, method is used for reversible caries. These are lesions that can regress with treatment using remineralizing agents.
The conventional method involves the placement of a dental dam isolation, removal of carious tissue, and placement of a composite filling. At Noradent, dentists use a rubber dam during restorations with composite. It is a special isolation technique that prevents saliva intrusion and keeps the operative field clean and dry.
Biological methods are used for deep cavities that have affected (directly or indirectly)the dental pulp. A biocompatible material is placed, forming a barrier between the nerve and dentin. This method aims to preserve the vitality (life) of the tooth.
At Noradent, we assess which type of treatment to choose based on the indications of the clinical case.
Is it normal to feel pain after tooth decay treatment?
It is normal for patients to experience mild discomfort in the treated area after the dental procedure. The clamping pressure around the isolated tooth and the trauma of the polishing process may cause slight pain, which subsides quickly.
If a biological treatment method is chosen for deep caries that have affected the nerve, postoperative sensitivity may persist for a longer period.
Prolonged pain may occur due to incorrect techniques, such as not following the etching and adhesive application protocol.
What happens if tooth decay is left untreated?
Serious inflammatory processes could affect the dental pulp (pulpitis) and the periodontium (periodontitis) of the tooth.
At Noradent, we believe that regular visits to a dental office, maintaining a high level of personal oral hygiene, and following a healthy diet are the foundation for prevention and protection against the development of tooth decay.