Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in your mouth convert sugars from foods and drinks you consume into acids that erode your teeth, eventually wearing away their outer layers (e.g. enamel) leaving holes (cavities).

Regular brushing, flossing and eating foods rich in calcium, fluoride and starches will all play an essential part in helping prevent tooth decay from occurring. Should decay still develop, however, your dentist can use fillings to restore any damaged sections of your tooth.

1. Enamel Decay

Enamel decay begins when bacteria in plaque (a sticky film of germs that forms on teeth) begin digesting sugars found in food and beverages, producing acids which attack and soften enamel, eventually wearing away its protective layers and leading to wear-and-tear erosion that wears away your tooth structure over time – this erosion may eventually lead to tooth sensitivity as well as cavities if left unchecked.

Natural processes of brushing and saliva remineralising enamel throughout the day help prevent tooth decay by counteracting some acid attacks, but this alone may not always be sufficient to keep erosion at bay. Frequent acid attacks accelerate erosion; foods that remain adhered to teeth for extended periods, like milk, ice cream, honey, sugary candies, mints and dry cereal, are more likely to do this than ones which can quickly be washed away with saliva.

As enamel wears away, it exposes dentin which is more vulnerable to decay than its harder counterpart, enamel. At this stage, symptoms of tooth decay may not be noticeable immediately but individuals may become sensitive to hot and cold temperature as the dentin becomes sensitive to stimuli like hot and cold temperature changes; furthermore this sensitivity can result in pain when biting or chewing as the exposed dentin comes into contact with air or comes into contact with another surface material such as teeth.

If the decay continues, it may reach the inner material of a tooth called pulp which contains nerves and blood vessels. When damaged, pulp damage causes toothache that usually manifests itself as sharp pains when eating hot and cold or sweet foods; typically lasting for seconds to hours and needing painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen for relief. Left untreated, however, this pain could worsen into an abscess necessitating medical attention or surgery for treatment.

Preventing enamel decay requires brushing twice daily, cutting back on sugary foods and beverages and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups – it is especially important for children as they are more prone to tooth decay than adults.

2. Dentin Decay

A tooth has three layers: enamel (hard), dentin (soft, yellowish center layer) and pulp, which consists of blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars from food and beverages into acids that attack and damage teeth; these acids may eventually destroy enamel and dentin layers altogether resulting in what’s known as tooth decay – most common among children as well as adults with poor oral hygiene practices.

Demineralization is the initial stage of tooth decay, where bacteria and acids from plaque start breaking down enamel, leaving your tooth feeling softer, with white spots becoming darker in hue and feeling hollow in its center. Left untreated, this can eventually lead to cavities forming – the final stage being extraction of decayed material from your tooth(s).

As decay spreads, weakened enamel begins to crumble and break down. Once it reaches dentin – which is less mineralized and therefore easier for bacteria to infiltrate – decay spreads more rapidly; leaving an increased chance for an uncomfortable toothache as bacteria invade the pulp of a tooth. If not addressed promptly at this stage, bacteria could even infect it and lead to root canal infection.

If bacteria and acid continue to destroy dentin, they will eventually reach the yellow pulp tissue inside of a tooth and cause its pulp to soften, swelling it up and leading to pain. Since there’s nowhere for it to expand in this space, pressure builds on nerves making chewing or opening your mouth difficult – in severe cases it may even result in death of nerves inside of a tooth.

In case of tooth decay, early intervention and treatment are key in reducing bacterial loads and helping the damaged enamel regenerate. But if the bacterium spreads unchecked and damages both enamel and dentin layers of teeth, root canal therapy may become necessary; to avoid this serious option for extraction and regeneration of enamel and dentin layers is key; brush and floss regularly while limiting sugary food and beverages especially between meals to avoid tooth decay altogether. To protect teeth against this potential future scenario.

3. Pulp Decay

Once tooth decay has progressed from enamel to dentin, its symptoms become most evident in pain. This is due to bacteria attacking deeper layers of your tooth containing blood vessels and nerves.

Once bacteria have reached your dentin, they begin eating away at it, exposing inner pulp tissue that causes considerable pain. This is particularly distressful if your tooth has cracked or fractured and allows bacteria to travel from end-to-end of its surface.

Healthy tooth pulp relies on its blood vessels for nourishment and moisture; but when infected pulp starts swelling it puts pressure on its blood vessels, cutting off their oxygen supply to the nerve and starving it of oxygen supply, leading to its eventual demise and eventual tooth death.

Tooth pulp necrosis is caused by many different things. An infection exacerbated by physical trauma or multiple invasive dental treatments can interrupt blood supply to a tooth and lead to its death, while cracks or fractures that allow bacteria to gain entry can also result in pulp necrosis.

Untreated dead teeth can quickly lead to serious infections in the soft tissues around your mouth and jaw, potentially becoming painful infections that spread further throughout your organs.

An abscess is caused by dead teeth that become infected, creating an infection at their roots that results in pain. Furthermore, this infection could pose significant health risks including cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.

Tooth decay can be prevented with good oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. If you experience new toothache symptoms or any other dental symptoms, don’t wait to visit your dentist – he or she may conduct X-rays and/or pulp sensibility tests in order to ascertain whether the tooth is alive or dead.

4. Abscess

Once tooth decay has progressed past enamel and dentine layers, it may reach the pulp in which blood vessels and nerves reside. When bacteria reach this sensitive region of a tooth’s interior (its pulp), infection and pressure ensue; leading to abscesses which become infected, followed by gingivitis inflammation of gums and pain originating from its infected tooth.

Tooth abscesses are caused by bacterial infections that can develop for various reasons, including poor dental hygiene, food that becomes lodged between teeth and gums, dental damage, injuries, deep tooth cracks or surgery complications. Bacteria found within the oral cavity such as strict and facultative anaerobes often contribute to dental abscesses; they may also enter from other sources.

Dental abscesses often arise in the back teeth, specifically the molars and premolars which contain more grooves, pits and crevices that collect food particles more readily – though they can occur in any of your teeth.

An abscess can be identified by pain that throbs and persists when eating or drinking hot or cold foods or liquids, and will diminish as soon as pus drains off, though immediate dental attention must still be sought in order to avoid further infection of gums and jaw bone.

An abscess can be effectively treated by draining its pus, cleaning out its surrounding area and filling or extracting an infected tooth to avoid future infection. In severe cases, antibiotics are prescribed in order to clear away infection in your mouth.

Assuring proper dental hygiene can greatly lower your risk of dental abscesses. Routine visits to your dental team and timely repairs for any damaged or chipped teeth is also key; regular tooth brushing with soft bristles, flossing and fluoride mouth rinse are effective at clearing away plaque from hard-to-reach places while foods and beverages high in sugar or acid can contribute to plaque build-up in these hard-to-reach places. Regular exams and x-rays allow dentists to detect early stage cavities more easily than advanced cases that develop through advanced stages.

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