If you’re not entirely certain what general dentistry is or what general dentistry services are, then, you’re right where you need to be. This blog is going to answer most of the usual questions you most likely have when it comes to tooth decay and what a general dentist does.
If you are looking for general dentistry services or a general dentist in the Boise, ID area, feel free to give us at Lamb Family Dental a quick call today at (208) 643-7176 to schedule a consultation with our general dentistry expert, Dr. Lamb!
Tooth Decay – FAQs
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure and can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin layer of the tooth.
Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities.
What causes Tooth Decay?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. Some bacteria are helpful. But some can be harmful, including the ones that play a role in tooth decay. These bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. The bacteria in plaque use the sugar and starch in what you eat and drink to make acids. The acids begin to eat away at the minerals on your enamel. Over time, the plaque can harden into tartar. Besides damaging your teeth, plaque and tartar can also irritate your gums and cause gum disease. You get fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources. This fluoride, along with your saliva, helps the enamel repair itself by replacing the minerals. Your teeth go through this natural process of losing minerals and regaining minerals all day long. But if you don’t take care of your teeth and/or you eat and drink lots of sugary or starchy things, your enamel will keep losing minerals. This leads to tooth decay.
A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is an early sign of tooth decay. You may be able to stop or reverse the decay at this point. Your enamel can still repair itself, if you take better care of your teeth and limit sugary/starchy foods and drinks.
But if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity. A cavity is a hole in your tooth. It is permanent damage that a dentist has to repair with a filling.
What are the Symptoms of Tooth Decay?
As tooth decay progresses, cavity symptoms start to appear. If you notice any of these common cavity symptoms, see your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier symptoms are identified, the quicker and easier the cavity treatment will be. Tune in to your teeth, and be on the lookout for these cavity symptoms:
Pain : A toothache is one of the most common cavity symptoms.
Pressure : Both increased tooth sensitivity and pain when biting down can indicate a cavity.
Pits : Cavity symptoms may include a noticeable hole or pit in the affected tooth. Sometimes the holes are only visible on a dental x-ray.
Other common signs of a cavity that you will likely notice on your own include a toothache or sensitive teeth particularly when eating sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks. These signs of a cavity are usually associated with advanced tooth decay and therefore require immediate attention from a dental professional.
Schedule an appointment with the best general dentist in Boise, ID now!
Hopefully our Tooth Decay – FAQs section answered each one of the questions you had about tooth decay! If you still need more answers and you also need general dentistry in any of the Blacks Creek, Eagle, Hidden Springs, Meridan, Robie Creek, ID regions, give the Lamb Family Dental team a call at (208) 643-7176 to speak with someone on our team of top-rated dentists. Our office is open Mon, Tues and Fri from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and Wed and Thurs from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM. Lamb Family Dental is excited to be considered the best general dentists in the greater Boise, ID area.
Check back soon!