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Dental Caries

Dr. Rajat Bhargava 89% (33 ratings)
MDS, B.D.S
Dentist, Kanpur  •  16 years experience
Dental Caries

Sudden tooth pain is usually a sign of cavities or dental caries. This is the most common form of oral disease that affects people across the world. A cavity can affect a person at any age. Caries can be categorized under two headings: pit and fissure caries and surface caries. The former usually affect the horizontal planes of the molars and the back planes of the teeth in front. Surface caries are usually found at the joints between two teeth and the gum line.

Dental caries are formed over a period of time. The earlier they are addressed, the less the damage caused and the less painful it is. Bacteria is the root cause of this problem. This bacteria causes sugar in your food to turn into acid. When the acid and bacteria are combined together, it forms plaque. This plaque dissolves the minerals in the enamel coating of a tooth and creates pits. These get larger with time and gradually the softer dentin layer below the enamel also gets decayed. This is when the patient feels a toothache. If the tooth is not addressed at this stage, the roots of the tooth can also get decayed leading to the tooth needing to be extracted.

Dental caries usually have no symptoms until the damage is done. The only way to diagnose it in its early stages is by a dental examination. Hence, it is essential to schedule dental exams every six months. If you skipped a dental exam, a toothache or increased sensitivity to hot or cold food can be taken as a sign of a cavity.

The treatment for a cavity depends on the extent of the damage caused.

A filling is the most common form of treatment for a cavity. This involves the removal of decayed tooth material and the use of a material such as silver, gold, porcelain or composite resin to replace it.

Your dentist may also choose to fit a crown on the tooth. This is done is there is extensive tooth damage and only a limited tooth structure is left. As with a filling, the decayed part of the tooth is removed and a crown made of gold or porcelain is fitted over the tooth.

If the cavity reaches an advanced stage where the nerve within the tooth dies; your dentist may want to perform a root canal. This involves the removal of the inner part of the tooth along with all the pulp and nerve cells. A sealant is then filled into the emptied areas. 

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