When it comes to treating and restoring your smile, your care can entail a number of different things, depending on your exact circumstances. For instance, treating tooth decay in one patient may require a different approach than tooth decay treatment in another patient. Today, we examine the different stages of tooth decay development, and how your dentist can save your tooth by addressing the condition with appropriate treatment.

Enamel erosion

As a progressive issue, tooth decay develops long before tooth damage is apparent, and begins with the erosion of your tooth enamel. The strong, protective layer surrounding your teeth is comprised almost entirely of mineral crystals (calcium and phosphate, mostly). Before tooth decay and cavities can form, bacteria must penetrate this protective layer, which they accomplish by producing acids to deplete your teeth’s minerals. At your regular dental checkup and cleaning, your dentist can spot signs of enamel erosion and implement an appropriate course of treatment. For instance, improving dental hygiene practices may be able to reverse the erosion process before your enamel is irrevocably damaged.

Dentin decay

Once bacterial acid compromises your enamel, bacteria can soon infiltrate the main structure of your tooth, called dentin. As the infection eats away at this structure, small holes (called cavities) can form that cause severe sensitivity to temperature changes, sweet foods and beverages, and pressure. Typically, infected dentin is treated by removing the decayed structure and replacing it with a manmade dental filling. The restoration, usually made from white composite resin, is designed to fortify your weakened tooth structure and seal off the interior of your tooth from further bacterial infection. The resin is also dyed to closely mimic your tooth’s natural color and is often called a tooth-colored filling.

Infected pulp

Unfortunately, tooth decay is frequently allowed to progress and penetrate the interior chamber of your tooth. Known as the pulp, this innermost chamber houses your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. When these tissues are infected, your tooth’s existence may be in danger. To save your tooth and stop the infection from spreading to surrounding tissues, your dentist may recommend root canal therapy, which involves extracting the infected tissues, thoroughly cleaning your tooth’s interior, and sealing the roots to prevent further infection. In extreme cases, however, your dentist may need to extract the tooth to save the rest of your oral health.

Treat Tooth Decay at Any Stage

When tooth decay is present, it’s important to treat it no matter what stage it’s in, though the earlier the better. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your dentist by calling Just Wright Dental in Corsicana, TX, today by calling (903) 225-2221. We also proudly welcome patients from Waxahachie, Mildred, Eureka, Ennis, Fairfield, Teague, Blooming Grove, Dawson, Hubbard, Hillsboro, Mexia, Groesbeck, Kerens, Malakoff, Rice, Centerville, Buffalo, and Athens.