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Tooth decay and its treatments

Tooth decay is a social disease that has been around since the beginning of time. It applies to all countries of the world and is closely related to civilization conditions. Its intensity is greatest in the population of countries where refined sugars are consumed in large amounts.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is a chronic, social infectious disease that may affect up to 90% of people. people all over Poland. Its essence is demineralisation and damage to the tooth tissues, first – enamel and dentin, and then the pulp. The ailment is caused by the softening of the tooth enamel by acids and toxins. 

Acids are formed in the mouth by bacteria that attack plaque. Caries should not be underestimated, because decayed primary teeth easily infect permanent teeth. The first symptoms of the disease are light-colored carious spots that darken with time. In the prevention of tooth decay, oral hygiene is the most important thing. You should take care of proper brushing of teeth and the use of dental floss. Such treatments should be implemented in the youngest children.

What are the causes of tooth decay?

The cause of tooth decay is dental plaque , bacterial, which adheres to the tooth and contains certain microorganisms. The occurrence of caries is also influenced, on the one hand, by general factors such as individual predisposition, some ailments and improper nutrition: deficiency of calcium, phosphorus, vitamins and some micronutrients.

On the other hand, local factors are of great importance, including:

  • lack of proper oral hygiene,
  • eating carbohydrates, especially if kept in the mouth for a long time, in periods between proper meals
  • avoiding eating hard foods that clean the teeth, the amount and composition of saliva.
  • Caries can affect both deciduous and permanent teeth. Carious lesions may arise in single teeth or several at once. The ailment usually involves grooves and indentations on the chewing surfaces of the molars, the gingival surfaces of all teeth, and the contact surfaces of the molars and premolars.

Treatment of tooth decay

Among the methods of treating tooth decay, the following are mentioned:

  • sealing – it consists in getting rid of the diseased tissue with a special laser, drill or gel; in turn, the dentist fills in the resulting cavities with the help of a filling;
  • reminalization – is a method used only at the initial stage of tooth decay, which is characterized by the presence of slight decalcification (white / darker spots); during reminalization, the dentist thoroughly cleans the places of decalcification and then applies a special gel or varnish containing fluoride compounds. Remineralization should be repeated several times.
  • In turn, dental cavities are supplemented with:
  • amalgam containing mercury – this agent is characterized by long durability and has bactericidal properties. Unfortunately, its disadvantage is the dark color of the material, which is why amalgam is used to treat molars or other invisible tooth surfaces;
  • composites – they have been used in dentistry for over 30 years and show very high durability. Currently, light-cured materials are used more often, the advantage of which is the ability to perfectly match the color of the material to the shade of the patient’s tooth, making the seal virtually invisible;
  • glass ionomer cements – they have the ability to chemically bond with tooth tissues and are a mixture of various substances. They prevent the development of caries because they contain fluoride.

It happens that bacteria penetrate deep into the tooth in the course of caries, which causes infection of deeper tissues. Then, patients not only have tooth sensitivity to various stimuli, but also their pain. In these cases, the dentist undertakes root canal treatment because pulpitis is a condition that develops. 

The pulp is excised with a special device during anesthesia. The dentist “poisons” a sick tooth when it is unable to reach the root of the tooth. After a few days, the pulp is removed and the canal is cleaned. After cleaning, it is filled with dental paste and a filling is placed.

Remember! Caries must not be ignored and treatment should not be postponed, as it may lead to the development of gangrene, i.e. decomposition of tissues caused by putrefying bacteria. The occurrence of gangrene is an indication for tooth extraction or prosthetic treatment.

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