What are Cavities?
Cavities or tooth decay is the phenomenon where teeth are broken down by acids produced by bacteria. The cavities at first turn into permanently rotten areas of the teeth, which later develops into tiny holes with time. They are also known as caries. They can becaused by number of factors. They are prevalent in children, teenager and older adults.
The cavities or caries require the following for its formation:
Stages of Tooth Decay
The various stages of tooth decay are as follows:
1.Formation of Plaque:
This is a thin film that forms over the teeth due to the growth of bacteria. The inadequate cleaning
of the teeth after excessive eating of foods that contain sugar and starch is a major cause for
plaque. The bacteria eats on the sugary foods left behind forming the plaque. The plaque that
stays on the teeth will harden into tartar near the gumline. Tartar is difficult to remove and in turn
provides protection to the bacteria.
2.Attack of the Plaque
Once plaque is formed, it starts to attack the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. This plaque has
acids that act on the enamel by removing the minerals present in it leaving behind miniscule holes
in the enamel. It further continues to erode the enamel till it reaches dentin, the next layer. Dentin
communicates to the nerve connecting to the tooth, so its erosion causes sensitivity.
The bacteria continue to attack the tooth as the decay progresses. The damage reaches the pulp
area or the inner tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are present, leading to a swollen pulp.
This swelling expands and presses against the nerve causing the pain sensation. It can cause
further discomfort to the root and bones.
The patient will experience the following:
Cavities are known to cause the following after a prolonged attack.
The dentist usually diagnoses cavities or tooth decay by the following methods:
The different Treatment options include:
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore