How Do Teeth Actually Rot?

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Teeth that have cavities can eventually degrade to the point where they have to be removed. That is why it is important to have your teeth checked and a professionally cleaning arranged every 6 months. The following information explains how dental decay can set in and cause a tooth to rot.

How Dental Decay Happens


Your mouth is home to thousands of bacteria – some good and some bad. When tooth decay strikes, it results from an infection with certain bacteria. These bacteria devour the sugars in foods, creating acids that erode the tooth enamel. Over time, the acids will create a hole, called a cavity, in the tooth. If you fill the cavity, the decay will not progress, which avoids the tooth from decaying further. In the first stage of decay, you may see white spots. These can be reversed by regular brushing and flossing and the application of a professional fluoride treatment. However, if the decay erodes the enamel, the damage cannot be reversed – thus, the need to fill the tooth.

Dentinal Decay


The next stage of decay is the dentinal stage. This happens when the decay reaches the tooth’s dentin, a layer below the enamel. When the decay reaches this point, it can spread fast, as the dentin is less-mineralized and softer than the enamel.

Inclusion Of The Pulp


Should the decay reach the tooth’s center, or the pulp, an exudate may form that leads to an abscess. Usually, a root canal is recommended during this stage. When decay becomes deep, the teeth may take on a brown or grayish cast. This is associated with a rotting or dying tooth. In fact, the tooth may take on a bruised look, or may even appear black.

As you can see, if you do not reverse the first signs of decay (white spots) during the initial stage of decay, your teeth will continue to get worse. Decay progresses if you don’t take steps to intervene. If you have problems with decay, contact us today. We can help you either reverse the process or take the proper measures to prevent further damage.

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