Tooth decay does not happen overnight, Its progress is usually slow to give both the patient and dentist adequate time to manage the same.
The first stage of tooth decay involves the appearance of yellowish spots or chalky white areas on the surface of tooth due to the loss of calcium.
Such tooth decay is still reversible, with proper treatment.
ØChalky white areas or yellowish spots, occasionally food Impaction- Food getting stuck frequently between teeth
Ø The decaying tooth can be saved by the application of fluoride and certain minerals present in the saliva. During the initial stages of tooth decay, the condition can be easily countered.
During this stage, the tooth enamel starts breaking below the surface layer, with the surface intact.
If the decay persists, the surface of the tooth will be broken and this damage is irreversible.
Ø Food Impacting between your teeth
Ø Bad odour from the Mouth
Ø At this stage, your tooth needs to be cleaned and filled by your dentist.
In the third stage, the decay progresses beyond the enamel into the dentin.
Ø Sensitivity to Cold, Sweet and Hot- Initially to Cold and sweet, then eventually to hot as well.
Ø The pain levels also start intensifying along with the many stages of tooth decay. Any dental pain should be immediately noted so that the problem can be dealt with soon.
Ø Frank cavitation of tooth with food impaction, some times change in color and translucency of tooth may be the only inidication
Ø At this juncture, your dentist can still restore the affected tooth with a filling. If the decay is very deep then a temporary filling is done initially with a layer of calcium hydroxide to aid in recalcification and then a permanent filling is done later.
The pulp of the tooth gets involved and infected due to the action of bacteria.
Pus formation results, causing the blood vessels and nerves in the pulp to die.
Ø Mild nagging to Sharp Shooting pain that may be radiating to adjoining areas.
Ø Severe sensitivity to hot, cold or sweets or even on eating normal food or even on drinking plain water.
Ø Pain that increases at night or lying down
Ø Pain on chewing or drinking that lingers for some time
Ø At this stage, root canal therapy is the only option of treatment.
The infection reaches the root tip of the tooth.
The bones surrounding the tooth also get infected, causing severe pain.
This is the final stage of the infection.
You may have visible swelling on the cheeks, along the affected side.
Ø Severe pain or surprisingly sometimes minimal pain.
Ø Swelling and redness
Ø Difficulty opening the mouth
Ø Tooth feeling in a higher position with difficulty to completely close the mouth or bite.
Ø Fever, Nausea and vomiting.
Ø Dental infection can also lead to cyst formation
Ø Your dentist will prescribe antibiotics and painkillers.
Ø The dentist may perform a root canal therapy or remove the infected tooth at this stage.
Ø May require incision or surgical procedure to drain the infection.
Ø This may end up in a life threatening condition or can cause long standing complications.