You may think it’s obvious that the common cold is, as the name suggests, one of the most common diseases in the world. But did you know that tooth decay, also known as cavities, are sitting in second place? That’s right, on average about a fourth of children ages 2 to 5 in the U.S. are afflicted with tooth decay and up to 90% of grown adults have it too. One recent study even estimated that up to 3.9 billion people – about half of the world’s population – are afflicted with some form of tooth decay. With these staggering statistics, it shouldn’t be a surprise that tooth decay has been a growing reason why our patients are losing teeth. Along with tooth decay is gum disease which is the number one cause of tooth loss in the world.
Pulling Back the Layers
In order to fully understand why tooth decay is so dangerous, let’s take a quick look at the different layers of a tooth.
- Enamel – This is the hardened white layer that surrounds the entire outside of the tooth and protects the inside. Many think that this is bone.
- Dentin – The dentin is a mineral layer that is directly underneath the enamel.
- Pulp – This layer is a soft tissue area that is filled with blood vessels and nerve endings.
The sharp pain that patients often feel with a cavity is usually a result of the tooth decay extending down to the sensitive pulp layer of the tooth.
Catch Tooth Decay Early
It’s often thought that tooth decay is caused by sugar alone. That’s actually not the case – the tooth decay is caused by bacteria that reside in your mouth. They feast on the sugars found in leftover food particles and dispense acid waste that can dissolve healthy tooth structure. That’s why it’s so important to properly care for your teeth with daily brushing and flossing, to keep the bacteria devoid of the compounds they eat.
- To keep you alert of the condition of your teeth, keep a lookout for the following warning signs and keep up routine visits to the dentist to check for any cavities.
- Pain while biting or chewing
- Tooth sensitivity (to cold or hot temperatures, or sensitivity to sweets)
- Brown, black, or other surface stains
- Pits, holes, cracks, and crevices in the enamel of your teeth.
What Can Dental Implants Do?
If caught early, the tooth decay can be halted with a filling, or if the decay is severe enough a root canal may be necessary. If, however, the damage has become extensive the tooth may be rendered irreparable, and your dentist or Dr. Dailley may recommend that the tooth be removed. If that occurs, we recommend that our patients consider dental implants as one of their top choices for a tooth replacement treatment.
Dental implants will not only fill the gap in your smile with a realistic functioning tooth, but it will also prevent the loss of bone structure from occurring where the tooth used to be. Under normal condition bone will continually be lost indefinitely unless an implant is placed in the space to stimulate bone growth. Another benefit of dental implants is they cannot become decayed like a natural tooth or a tooth that has a crown or bridge attached to it.
Patch Up Your Tooth Decay Today
If you’ve recently lost a tooth to tooth decay or are at risk of losing a tooth to tooth decay, contact us today at the practice of Anthony Dailley, DDS in Berkeley, CA to explore your treatment options. Whether it’s fillings, root canals, or dental implants to replace a damaged tooth, Dr. Dailley is highly experienced in the application of these procedures and will ensure that you leave with a healthy, happy smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dailley!