Going to the dentist can be a drag. You have to schedule an appointment, drive all the way there and sometimes you’re met with less than desirable news. The most common bad news people receive at the dentist is the identification of a new cavity.
If you’ve recently been informed that you have a cavity, you are not alone. In fact, according of a survey conducted in 2011 and 2012, 90-96% of Americans have some form of tooth decay.
Getting a tooth filled can be a painful, time-consuming experience. But what happens when you ignore that cavity? It doesn’t hurt or imped your daily life, so why should you go through that painful, time-consuming procedure to fix it?
Unfortunately, the poor oral hygiene skills that resulted in the cavity in the first place usually don’t suddenly reverse themselves. If ignored, your tooth will continue to decay until you are met with much more serious consequences.
If you ignore your tooth decay, your tooth will go through the following five stages:
Stage One: White Spots
The first stage of tooth decay is identified with the appearance of yellowish / white spots or chalky areas on the surface of a tooth. These patches are a result of the loss of calcium.
Thankfully, such tooth decay is easily reversible – with proper treatment.
Stage Two: Enamel
During this stage, the tooth enamel starts to break down below the surface layer, with the surface intact.
If the tooth continues to be ignored, the decay will persist and the surface of the tooth will break — resulting in irreversible damage.
At this stage, in order to avoid further decay, your tooth needs to be cleaned and filled by a dentist.
Stage Three: Dentin
In the third stage of decay, the dentin below your teeth’s enamel will begin to break down.
At this stage, your dentist can still restore the affected tooth with a filling. However, the pain levels associated with this stage can be immense. Any dental pain should immediately be disclosed to your dentist so that the problem can be dealt with effectively.
Stage Four: Pulp
If the tooth decay continues to go untreated, the pulp of the tooth gets involved and infected due to the increase of bacteria in the mouth. This stage includes pain and pus formation causing the blood vessels and nerves in the pulp to die.
If you have arrived at this stage of tooth decay, root canal therapy is really the only treatment option.
Stage Five: Abscess Formation
During the final stage of decay, the infection will reach the tooth’s root tip. The bones surrounding the tooth will also get infected, causing severe pain. This stage can also include visible swelling of the cheek
For treatment, your dentist will first prescribe antibiotics and painkillers. Depending on the sheer amount of decay, your dentist may perform a root canal therapy or remove the infected tooth.
Call Your Dentist
If you or a loved one has a suspected or confirmed cavity, call Schaumburg, IL dentist, Dr. Jig Patel immediately to avoid further damage to your teeth.