Unfortunately, tooth decay is something that affects many Australians. In 2017 and 2018 alone, people 15 years and older had an average of 11.2 decayed, missing or filled teeth. If you are one of these people, you may be wondering if there is any hope of saving your teeth and restoring your health, confidence and overall quality of life. 

Luckily, there are four main ways a dentist can save your decaying tooth, which we cover below. But first, it’s essential to understand why tooth decay occurs in the first place and how to know if you are suffering from this condition.

Why Do I Have Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay, also referred to as cavities, is a process that happens over time and is due to several factors.

Poor Dental Hygiene

If you do not regularly brush your teeth, floss and visit your dentist, you’ll likely suffer from tooth decay in the future. Start brushing twice a day, flossing daily and visiting your dentist one to two times a year, and your chances of getting cavities will decrease significantly. 

Plaque Formation

Plaque formation on your teeth is inevitable. However, how long it stays there is up to you. Without a regular dental hygiene routine, plaque exposes your teeth to acids that dissolve  away your teeth’s protective enamel layer. Brushing soon after eating dramatically reduces the buildup of plaque.

Improper Nutrition

Since teeth are a snapshot of overall health, dentists are often the first medical professionals to identify malnourished individuals. To maintain proper levels of enamel, you need proper nutrients, which are absorbed by your teeth as a form of protection. Without proper nutrients, your teeth do not have the resources they need to do their part to stay healthy.

Bacteria and Acid 

When you eat sugar, the natural bacteria in your mouth feed on it, strengthening its presence in your mouth. This produces lactic acid, and the bacteria and acid bind to your teeth, putting them at a higher risk for decay. The bacteria and acid combination is why you were told as a child that candy would make your teeth rot. 

What Are the Hints That I Have Tooth Decay?

Before seeking help, you might wonder whether or not you have tooth decay. If any of these are familiar, you should book an appointment with a dentist today.

Toothache

Often caused by tooth decay, a toothache is simply a sharp or dull pain around a tooth.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is pain triggered by:

  • Hot or cold food
  • Sweet foods and drinks
  • Mouthwash
  • Cold water
  • Cold air

The pain can last for any period and tends to be inconsistent. However, you should not ignore pain just because it’s inconstant.

White Spots

White spots on teeth have several causes, and tooth decay is one of them. Because there are other concerning causes, if you notice white spots, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist today.

Pits

Pits are deep grooves on the chewing surface of your teeth that food can easily get trapped in. They lend themselves to the production of bacteria and acid, which have already proven to be significant tooth decay culprits.

What Are the Options to Save My Teeth?

If you have a badly decayed tooth, there are options to save it and enjoy a fresh start.

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are the most common treatment for tooth decay. During the filling process, your dentist will simply fill the hole in your tooth with amalgam (a mixture of metals), composite resin, glass-ionomer cement, porcelain fillings, or temporary fillings.

Root canal

Root canal treatment is for more severe cases of tooth decay that involves replacing the soft pulp of the tooth with a filler to restore the tooth’s integrity.

Dental Crowns

If a tooth is broken or decayed, or has parts of it missing, a dentist might recommend a dental crown. A dental crown simply fits over the existing tooth, restoring strength and integrity. It can also help prevent weak teeth from breaking or cover a stained tooth.

Summary

If you suspect you are experiencing tooth decay, it’s essential to reach out to a trusted dental professional today. The longer you put off addressing the problem, the more severe the treatment might be. If you can restore your decayed tooth today with a filling, that’s much better than getting a root canal six months from now. 

Understandably, you might be hesitant to treat your decayed tooth, but your health, confidence and quality of life will increase greatly when you take action. Treating your decayed tooth can be an easy process when you have the right dental team on your side.

We invite you to set up an appointment at our Ballarat dental office today. Call us now, and let’s save those teeth!

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