How Do Cavities Lead to Tooth Loss?

Nov 22, 2016 @ 09:00 AM — by belldental

Cross-section illustration of a tooth showing its inner structuresCavities are among the best known dental problems for good reason - they are among the most prevalent of all dental problems. Indeed, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of all adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. While modern restorative dentistry treatments can be used to return teeth with cavities to optimal form, function, and health, too many people leave teeth with cavities untreated. Unfortunately, when cavities are left untreated, eventual tooth loss is inevitable.

Dr. Brian K. Bell and Dr. Justin Crocker carefully detail the relationship between cavities and tooth loss during consultations at their Lake Jackson, TX practice, Bell Dental. They explain how important it is for patients to employ proper dental hygiene habits at home and to visit their practice at least twice a year for thorough oral exams and professional cleanings. Equally importantly, they urge patients to schedule an appointment at the first sign of a potential problem with a tooth - a crack, a chip, minor discomfort, or even sensitivity that lasts for more than a few days.

To schedule your initial appointment at Bell Dental, simply contact our practice today.

The Relationship between Cavities and Tooth Loss

Cavities, clinically known as dental caries, are the holes and crevices that can develop in the teeth after the protective enamel layer has been compromised. While enamel is one of the strongest substances in all of nature, it can be damaged by trauma or disease. More often, it is worn down by bacteria, usually due to a combination of exposure to acids and poor oral health. Once the enamel has been breached, the underlying layer of teeth - the dentin - is highly vulnerable to decay.

When a cavity forms, it is simply the beginning of a dental problem that is destined to become worse without treatment. Bacteria will continue to eat away at the tooth, causing the cavity to grow larger until it reaches one of the root canals within the tooth.

The root canals are chambers that reside within each tooth. Each root canal contains a nutrient-rich substance called dental pulp, which is essential to the health of the tooth. When the pulp is exposed to outside elements, it becomes infected. At this point, the pulp must be surgically removed, the root canal must be disinfected and filled with a synthetic substance, and the remaining tooth must be covered with a dental crown. If this does not occur in a timely manner, what began as a cavity will end as a lost tooth.

Fortunately, if a cavity is caught in its earliest stages, the tooth can usually be restored with a mere filling, inlay, or onlay. This is dependent, however, on the patient seeking timely treatment.

Learn More about Cavities and Tooth Loss

To learn more about the connection between cavities and tooth loss, please contact the cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice of Brian Bell DDS and Justin Crocker DDS today.

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