What Happens When a Tooth Decays?

Some dental concerns don’t need to be addressed until they develop. For instance, chronic teeth-grinding or other problems with your bite function aren’t typically things you can avoid with routine preventive care. Fortunately, that routine can help you prevent the most common oral health concerns, such as tooth decay and the formation of cavities. Tooth decay results from the excessive buildup of oral bacteria, or plaque, on the surfaces of your teeth, and preventing it is a constant effort to prevent this buildup from getting out of control. Given the potentially damaging nature of the condition, preventing a tooth from decaying is also an essential part of maintaining your healthy, natural smile.

The start of the problem

Tooth decay is so common because of how it develops, which it can do from natural occurrences, and before you realize it. The start of tooth decay involves the erosion of your healthy tooth enamel, which surrounds and protects your main tooth structure from harm caused by oral bacteria. To weaken this layer, certain types of oral bacteria can metabolize sugar and other carbs into acids that deplete your teeth of the minerals it needs to sustain your enamel. After this demineralization occurs, tooth enamel becomes extremely weak, though your teeth can replenish the minerals, or remineralize your tooth enamel, afterward. However, if this erosion occurs too frequently, then the acid can cause a hole to form in your enamel, exposing the main structure to bacteria and, soon after, infection.

Why a cavity forms in your tooth

Once oral bacteria compromise your tooth enamel and begin to infect your main tooth structure, it will erode the healthy structure as it progresses and becomes more severe. This condition, which is called tooth decay, leaves a hole in your tooth structure, or cavity, that grows larger and makes your tooth’s overall structure weaker in the process. This progression makes tooth decay a much more serious problem than patients often realize, especially when the cavity is only first developing. Before long, the decay can reach the more sensitive tissues, including the nerves, at the center of the tooth, which extend into the tooth’s root canal and the supportive jawbone structure. To avoid more extensive tooth complications, it’s important to treat tooth decay as soon as possible, no matter what stage it’s in when you notice it.

Stop your tooth from decaying further

You might not always be able to prevent decay from developing in a tooth, but you can stop it from getting worse by treating it as soon as possible. To learn more, call Cleveland Family Dentistry office in Cleveland, TX, today at (281) 592-1234.