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Tooth decay- all you need to know from your dentist in Surrey

Welcome back to the Time Dental Blog. We’re continuing our current series on tooth decay and how to prevent it from happening. Last week we discussed what tooth decay is and how your mouth is in a constant tug 0f war between remineralization and demineralization.

Today we are going to look at the signs and symptoms of tooth decay.  A person who has tooth decay may not even be aware that they have the disease occurring in their mouth. The first signs of new tooth decay is a chalky white spot on the surface of the tooth. This indicates the demineralization of the enamel which is the outer layer of your tooth. This is often called a “microcavity” or white spot lesion. When the decay is at this stage the process of demineralization can be reversed and the enamel can remineralize. If the demineralization continues the lesion can start to look brown in colour but will eventually turn into a cavity.


What tooth decay can look like

As the enamel and dentine is destroyed the cavity becomes more noticeable. Often the tooth can look visibly intact but has a grey/brown shadowing underneath the enamel layer, as shown in the picture above. Both these two molar teeth have decay. Can you spot it? As the decay continues the enamel layer will collapse leaving behind a huge cavity. This happens because the tooth has been weakened by extensive internal decay which can sometimes suddenly fracture under normal chewing forces. You may get symptoms to hot and cold temperature changes but not always.

When the bacteria from the decay reaches the pulp which is the nerve in the middle of the tooth a toothache can result and the pain will become more constant. Eventually the pulp tissue will die and infection will result. The tooth may then be no longer sensitive to hot and cold temperature and maybe very tender to pressure.

Tooth decay can also cause bad breath and a foul taste in the mouth.

As you can see there are various signs and symptoms to tooth decay and you may not have any symptoms or pain from a particular tooth but the signs will be there which can be picked up early by your dentist. With regular dental health checks your dental team will be able to give you the best preventative advice to deal with the problem early.

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