By Dr. Premendra Goyal, Dentistry
A set of healthy teeth is imperative for the well being of an individual. However, the teeth are most susceptible to damage and decay. The holes in the teeth caused due to decay are commonly known as dental cavities. Tooth decay is one of the most common problems suffered by individuals which may magnify if untreated.
- Bacteria: Bacteria are generally present in the mouth, but they often react with the food, especially with sugar and starch and change them to acids. This acid along with bacteria, saliva and remnants of the food, form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque sticks to the teeth mostly in the edges or the biting surfaces of molars – grinder teeth. This is the most common cause of tooth decay and the acid present in the plaque is responsible for cavities.
- Carbohydrates: An increased intake of sugar and starch adversely affect dental health because these foods have a tendency to stick to the teeth.
- Frequent Consumption of Snacks: Frequent constant consumption of snacks increases the contact of acid with the tooth, thereby also increasing the risk of tooth decay. It is recommended that an individual should limit his intake to 3 meals a day to keep dental caries at bay.
- Fillings: In order to prevent further damage, dentists often remove the damaged tooth material entirely by drilling. They replace it with materials like gold, silver alloy though porcelain and composite resin are preferred more as they closely resemble the natural tooth appearance. This process known as fillings is most often opted by patients and doctors alike to avert further damage.
- Crowns: In this process the damaged area is removed and replaced by a dental crown . They are often made up of gold or porcelain.
- Root Canal Therapy: Sometimes the nerve inside the tooth dies either due to injury or damage caused by dental caries. In such cases the center of the tooth along with the nerve, blood vessels and the decayed area of the tooth is removed. A sealing material is subsequently used to fill the inside of the roots. The tooth is then filled and a crown placed later.