Dental decay or cavities affect most people
irrespective of age, sex or social background. The following dental information
pages answers many of your questions that you have on Dental decay, dental
cavities, fillings and dental restorations.
What are cavities or dental decay?
Decay or dental caries is a disease in which the tooth is destroyed by
softening as a result of growth of microorganisms on and around the teeth
in presence of food particles.
How do cavities form on the tooth?
The microorganisms that exist in mouth along with the food remains form
a sticky thin, translucent layer on the tooth called dental plaque. The
plaque in initial stages can easily be removed by brushing and flossing.
If it is not removed, the plaque gets attached firmly to the teeth and the
bacteria multiply and in the process release mild acids that destroy the
tooth structure. The enamel gets destroyed layer by layer and the bacteria
gradually penetrate deeper into the tooth. The affected part of the tooth
gets weakened and breaks during chewing and results in a cavity. The process
is slow and continues until proper treatment is executed.
How do you detect decay in initial stages?
The dentist can detect initial decay by examination of the teeth and by
taking an X-ray. Usually decay in between teeth can be spotted on a bitewing
X-ray and on the grinding surface by probing these areas.
Do' black spots' on the teeth indicate decay?
Grooves and pits on the grinding surfaces easily get stained by food stuffs
and beverages Hence all black spots are not decay and only black spots which
have softened the tooth are the areas of decay .The detection should be
done by a dentist.
How do you identify decay between teeth?
Initial decay/ caries between teeth can be spotted on bitewing X-rays.
In later stages, when more destruction takes place food usually gets impacted
between teeth. A dental checkup will confirm the detection.
What are the areas of tooth prone for decay?
The grinding surface of teeth usually has many grooves and pits and is
therefore prone for accumulation of food and microorganisms. Thus the grinding
surface of the back teeth shows high incidence of dental decay. In addition
the area around the contact between the teeth, is also the starting point
of decay. Other areas of decay are the pits found on the outer surface of
the molars and small pits on the inner side of the upper front teeth.
Is any tooth resistant to decay?
No, but usually lower incisors, canines and upper canines are least prone.
The first permanent molars are most commonly affected by caries as their
grinding surface is often full of deep pits and grooves that tend to accumulate
food and microorganisms. In addition the first permanent molars erupt early
at a time when the oral hygiene of children is poor. Proper, regular tooth
brushing with fluoride containing tooth pastes can help to make the tooth
more resistant to decay.