Causes of Risk Factors of Dental Caries (tooth decay) Formation

 Caries is the second most common and widespread disorder. While it is mostly seen in children and teenagers, it may be encountered in people of all ages.

 Bacteria are present in the normal oral flora. They convert all aliments (carbohydrate and starch) to acids. Bacteria, acids, food residues, and saliva all together form a plaque and build up on the surface of the teeth. Plaques are most commonly seen in the occlusal surfaces of molar teeth, gingival line, and filling margins.

Acids inside the bacterial plaque cause the enamel surface to demineralize leading to formation of cavities and fissures on the surface of the tooth. These cavities are painless before reaching deeper structures of the tooth. If caries is left untreated and it reaches to dentin and pulp, thereafter nerves and blood vessels die, and dental abscess may form.

The first 20 minutes after a meal is the most intense period of plaque and bacterial activation. Foods with carbohydrate and starch elevate the risk of tooth decay. The aliments staying on the surface of the tooth are dangerous because they prolong the exposure of tooth surface to acids and increase the caries risk.

Symptoms of Caries

• Toothache – particularly after hot, cold, or sweet drinks and foods

• Cavities and fissures on tooth surface

• Dental abscess

• Dental fracture

• Dental sensitivity

• Failure to chew with the tooth

Diagnosis of Caries
By routine intraoral dental examinations, tooth decays can be detected during early period. Detection of proximal caries lesions can be facilitated by dental radiography.

Treatment of Dental Caries

If a dental tissue is lost once, it can never regenerate itself, however, the progression can be stopped and lost tissue is restored with filling materials. The main target of treatment is to protect the tooth and resolve the complaints. Ideally, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to learn proper oral hygiene.

During the filling procedure

Decayed tooth tissue is removed and the site is restored with composite resin, amalgam, gold, or porcelain material. Composite resins are the materials that most closely mimic natural tooth appearance, therefore, they are preferred for the teeth that appear with the smile. For the teeth that do not appear with the smile, materials such as composite resins, amalgam, or porcelain are preferred.

Treating caries at early period is easier and cheaper than treating it at advanced stage. Local anesthesia may be performed in order to inflict no pain during cleaning of the caries.

Can every dentist do every type of filling?
All the dentists can perform routine fillings. However, for treatment of cases including infected teeth or excessive dental tissue loss, an endodontist may be preferred.

How long a filling lasts?

A good filling can last for 20-25 years or more if the oral hygiene of the person is well maintained.

What is amalgam filling?
By mixing metals such as silver and copper with mercury, a semi-solid form that can be condensed into the cavity is obtained. It is used in dentistry for more than a century.

Why do amalgam fillings appear black?


Following placement of an amalgam filling, in the second session, it should be polished. Thus, the brightness of the silver comes out.

Do they break while using them?

Large amalgam fillings or old fillings may in time break under heavy mastication forces.

Can the caries cavity be filled with a material having the natural tooth color?

 There are filling materials having the natural tooth color. These materials are compatible with teeth and appear esthetic. Such filling materials are generally called as composites.

What is dental erosion?

Loss of dental tissue due to some chemicals is called as dental erosion. It is generally seen in people who consume acidic drinks excessively or have gastric problems.

What is dental abrasion?

Loss of dental tissue due to physical causes is called as dental abrasion. Brushing your teeth hardly with a hard-bristled brush or habits like biting a needle, may lead to dental abrasion.

Why do teeth become sensitive?

Normally, enamel layer protects teeth from effects such as hot, cold, sour, and sweet. In cases where enamel is lost due to erosion, abrasion, or caries, sensitive dentin layer is exposed to external effects. Since dentin contains nerve ends, one can feel those effects easily.

How can dental sensitivity be treated?

In the early period, protective or desensitizing toothpastes available in the market can help. They should be used for a long period of time to obtain a result. If there is any erosion/abrasion/cavity, filling should be performed.

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