Understanding Tooth Decay
Plaque is a sticky coating of bacteria and other substances that forms on your teeth and gums. It can cause two serious problems: tooth decay and gum disease. These problems damage the teeth and gums, and may even lead to tooth loss. When the mouth is well cared for, tooth decay and gum disease can be reversed in their early stages. Better yet, you can prevent these problems from starting by brushing and flossing daily.
How Tooth Decay Develops
Tooth decay happens when acid eats away at a tooth. Cavities (also called caries) are holes that form in the teeth. They are most common in places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. This includes the grooves at the tops of the teeth, and on the sides where the teeth touch. In late stages, tooth decay can be painful. It can also lead to tooth loss.
Treating Tooth Decay
Tooth decay can be treated to keep it from moving farther into the tooth. This is often done by filling cavities. First, any tooth decay is removed. This protects the tooth from further damage. Then, the cavity is filled with a hard material. This filling protects the damaged tooth and restores the tooth surface. If the tooth is severely damaged by decay, other treatments are available.
Visit your dental team at least every