Tooth decay is caused by acid in the mouth that erodes the dental enamel that protects your teeth. Following a good oral hygiene routine can help you to avoid cavities and a dental emergency. In this article, we are going to explain what causes teeth to decay. If you are experiencing a toothache, it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible. Please call our emergency dentist now: (02) 9158 6211.

What Causes Teeth To Decay?

There are a number of factors involved in the development of tooth decay. Generally speaking, cavities develop slowly. If you visit your dentist on a regular basis, he or she will be able to spot the early signs of decay and treat them before they become a dental emergency, and you may not need an emergency dentist.


The process of developing a cavity usually follows these steps

  • The bacteria inside your mouth feed from the carbohydrates and sugars you consume. They convert carbohydrates into acids.
  • The bacteria, acids, and plaque coat the surfaces of your mouth and teeth.
  • If you do not brush and floss your teeth, the bacteria and acids start to corrode your dental enamel and then the surface of your teeth.


What Risk Factors Are Involved In The Development Of Tooth Decay?

Some people are at greater risk than others for developing cavities. Some of these risk factors include

  • Consuming a diet that is too high in sugars and carbohydrates
  • Medications or medical conditions that cause dry mouth
  • An irregular dental hygiene routine or not brushing and flossing regularly or often enough
  • Not visiting your dentist every six months for professional cleaning and polishing.


What Causes Teeth To Decay: Signs And Symptoms

When you have decay on your dental enamel, you might not notice any symptoms. Your dentist would be able to see this if you go for regular appointments. You are only likely to notice the symptoms of tooth decay once the corrosion affects your dentin or tooth root.


You might experience

  • Mouth pain or toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks or sugary foods
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Swelling in your face
  • Redness on the gums surrounding the affected tooth.


When Does Dental Decay Become A Dental Emergency?

what causes tooth decay st leonardsUnfortunately, for some people, excruciating pain might be the first sign of a problem with tooth decay.

You might be woken up in the middle of the night to a throbbing mouth and not be able to go back to sleep.

Not treating a cavity can lead to severe complications and require costly treatment with an emergency dentist.

Some of the consequences include

  • The development of an abscess around an infected tooth
  • The infection from an abscess can spread throughout your body, causing more severe health complications.
  • The loss of the tooth. Sometimes dental decay can be so severe that the tooth cannot be saved and has to be extracted.

How Do You Know If You Are Having A Dental Emergency?

If you experience a toothache that doesn’t respond to pain killers or if you experience unbearable pain that is accompanied by facial swelling or a fever, you must contact an emergency dentist right away.


How To Treat Tooth Decay

The earlier dental decay is picked up, the simpler and more cost-effective the treatment will be. Making an appointment with your dentist can help you avoid a dental emergency and rather adopt treatment strategies like:


Fluoride treatment

When tooth decay is in its early stages, it may be possible to repair and remineralise the dental enamel using fluoride treatment, which is painted onto the teeth.


Dental fillings

If the decay is confined to a small part of the tooth, your dentist can use dental filling material to repair the decayed area after the infected material has been removed. Tooth-coloured filling material can be used to repair the damage done to front teeth.


Dental crowns

If a large part of the tooth has been lost to decay, your dentist will need to protect it against further damage or decay. This is usually done using dental crowns or caps, which are covers that are placed over the tooth structure. Dental crowns restore functionality to the tooth and build up the parts that were lost due to cavities.


Root canal treatments

Having a root canal could help you to preserve a dead or dying tooth in the event that your tooth pulp has become infected. During a root canal, your dentist will drill into your a dental emergency. Any infected matter will be removed, and the tooth will be sealed to prevent future infection.

For help with your oral care routine or to find out more about what causes teeth to decay, it’s best to consult a professional sooner rather than later. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9158 6211.





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