Did you know that among individuals aged 20 and older, approximately 90 percent have had at least one cavity? The good news is that tooth decay is reversible in its very early stages, which is why we emphasize the importance of your twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings. Dr. Kraklow will thoroughly evaluate every aspect of your oral health and address any signs of tooth decay early on when easiest to treat.
What Are the Causes of Tooth Decay?
Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, continually develops on the tooth surfaces. If not removed by regular brushing, flossing, and routine teeth cleanings, cavity-causing bacteria feasts on foods in the mouth, especially sugars and starches, and produces acids. These acids erode the tooth enamel and break it down, eventually leading to tooth decay. Once a cavity forms, it will require treatment to prevent it from progressing.
What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Decay?
Signs of tooth decay include the following:
- Tooth pain that may occur without any cause
- Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages
- Visible spots, holes, or pits on the tooth enamel
- White, black, or brown staining on a tooth’s surface
- Loose fillings
- Persistent bad breath
At times, tooth decay may not produce symptoms. Dental x-rays taken during your routine dental exams will reveal any signs of early damage.
What Are the Risk Factors for Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay can develop in people of all ages but is more common in younger children and older adults. Factors that increase the risk of tooth decay include constant snacking or sipping on sugary foods and beverages, bedtime infant feeding, not getting enough fluoride, having a dry mouth, a family history of weak tooth enamel, poor oral hygiene, the use of tobacco products, and medical conditions, including acid reflux and eating disorders.
How Is Tooth Decay Treated?
Treating tooth decay depends on its size and location. If it’s caught in its earliest stages, fluoride treatments may, in some cases, remineralize the tooth enamel, reversing the condition. However, If a cavity has already formed, you’ll need a dental filling. Otherwise, the decay will continue to progress, potentially requiring a dental crown, or, if the damage reaches the tooth’s pulp, a root canal may be the only option to save the tooth and restore its function.
In some severe cases, tooth decay can progress to the point that a tooth is irreparable, leaving us with no option but to extract it. Depending on the location of the affected tooth, we may recommend a tooth replacement option, such as an implant or bridge, to restore your healthy, functional smile and prevent a host of complications resulting from missing a tooth.
How Can You Lower Your Risk of Tooth Decay?
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and floss daily. Limit sugary foods and drinks, and consume a balanced, nutritious diet. Don’t forget to visit Kraklow Quality Dentistry for routine dental exams and cleanings. We’ll monitor your oral health and treat any problems as they develop, preventing them from progressing and requiring extensive treatments down the road.
Quality Dental Care Near Me
Visit Kraklow Quality Dentistry in Milwaukee, WI, to learn more about keeping dental disease at bay. Our team is committed to providing our valued patients with outstanding, gentle care. Call us and schedule your appointment today!