Dental Information on Dental Decay and Fillings

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.


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Dental caries or Decay or Cavity
Dental caries or Decay or Cavity
Small pits on the inner side of the upper front teeth can develop decay
Pits found on the outer surface of the molars can develop dental deacy
Dental Cavities can occur around the contact between the teeth
Grinding surface of teeth is prone for cavities