Sugar cookies … fudge … candy canes … hot chocolate … these are just a few of the many holiday treats still out there. While Christmastime is a festive time of year, it can also bring it’s own set of challenges. If you have recently found yourself the bearer of an ongoing toothache, it may the result of enjoying one too many holiday treats this season. Dental sensitivity is not always alarming, but if it persists for more than two days – you should book an appointment with your general dentist.
General dentist Dr. Rassiwala will perform a complete examination using x-ray technology to determine what is going on below the surface. She will be able to determine the stage of tooth decay and which treatment will be the most beneficial. Treating tooth decay in its earliest stages can help you preserve your natural teeth and protect your long-term oral health. Dr. Rassiwala discusses the different stages of tooth decay below, and why it’s important to visit your general dentist every six months. If it’s been awhile since you visited the dentist, turn over a new leaf in 2018. Book your visit today at our Dublin, CA office by contacting us online or calling 925-833-9500.
Stage 1: Demineralization
Detecting demineralization is generally hard to do on your own and requires an expert eye. The teeth most susceptible to demineralization are those located in the back of your mouth. They are the ones used the most for chewing and breaking down food, and are harder to keep clean. Because of this, food and bacteria can remain on the outer surface for too long and turn into plaque. As the plaque remains, it will begin to weaken enamel. If caught early, demineralization can often be reversed with remineralization treatments to strengthen enamel. After a thorough cleaning, you may be prescribed a special mouthwash to rinse with morning and night. Limiting the intake of starchy and sugary foods can also help prevent demineralization from worsening.
Stage 2: Enamel Erosion
If demineralization is left untreated, it will continue to weaken and erode the enamel, resulting in small holes known as cavities. Each tooth is made up of several layers: enamel, dentin, and the pulp chamber. Enamel is intended for strength and stability and to help you chew food effectively. Although it is considered one of the strongest substances in the body, it is not invincible. When cavities develop, it can lead to dental sensitivity and make it difficult to perform basic daily functions, such as chewing and biting down. When a cavity is present, it typically requires a dental filling to repair the tooth.
Stage 3: Dentin Impairment
When a cavity is left unaddressed, it will only continue to widen and deepen. If the tooth decay penetrates the dentin layer, dental sensitivity will turn into increased tooth pain at varying levels. A more aggressive form of treatment is usually required, such as a dental crown to restore the structural integrity and function of the tooth.
Stage 4: Pulp Chamber Penetration
As the tooth decay deepens, tooth pain is generally more aggressive and chewing on the damaged tooth is nearly impossible. Once it reaches the pulp chamber, the roots of the tooth are compromised and traditional methods are no longer sufficient. When this happens, root canal therapy is required. Root canal therapy can help preserve your natural tooth and prevent an extraction.
Stage 5: Abscess Development
Once the decay reaches this stage, you will most definitely be aware there is a problem. Signs of infection are present and pain is more pronounced and often debilitating. An abscessed tooth should be treated immediately to prevent nearby teeth and gums from getting damaged. At this stage, the tooth is irreparable and must be removed. Dr. Rassiwala can replace your missing tooth with either an implant restoration or traditional dental bridge.
Have a Toothache? Call Your General Dentist
If you are in pain, please contact our Dublin, CA office today to book a consultation with general dentist Dr. Rassiwala. She will provide the necessary treatment to alleviate your pain. Contact us today online or by calling 925-833-9500.
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