What is Tooth Decay?

What is Decay?
Decay is the destruction of tooth structure. Decay can often can be detected with the naked eye and by illuminating the teeth with bright light.  Decay is generally has different color from the natural healthy tooth.  It is porous and picks up stain easily and often takes on a brown/black discoloration.

Decayed tooth looks darker on x-rays compared to healthy tooth.  Sometimes xrays, by themselves, are not enough.  There are other methods to either confirm the presence of decay or to detect decay that doesn’t show up on  x-rays.

How Decay Occurs?
Decay occurs when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day and flossing daily.  Diet and

How is it treated?
Treatment for tooth decay depends on how bad it is. You may be able to reverse slight tooth decay by using fluoride. To fix cavities caused by mild tooth decay, the decay must be removed and it should be filled up with fillings material (in our office we use tooth colored fillings). If decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth and the then it has to be restored (in most cases with a crown).  In extreme cases, the tooth has to be removed.

To find out more about tooth decay, our dentists, general & family dentistry, or the other dentistry services we provide, please call our walnut creek dental office at 925.939.9177 or email us.
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