If you want a reason to make sure you see your dentist regularly, just read the 6I steps from having a cavity-free mouth to needing an expensive root canal. It’s a steep slide that doesn’t have to happen if you seek the dental care you need.
1. You Have A Mouth Full Of Bacteria. They’re hanging out in small colonies and always on the move. Some are bad – some are good. The bad bacteria can attach themselves to the enamel and other bacteria join them. They mix with the proteins in your saliva and turn in a white film – that’s plaque. It needs to be removed!
2. Have Some Sugar. Those bacteria love it! They “feed” on the sugar to create energy. This helps them grow. They multiply faster and the plaque gets thicker and bigger. Your mouth is starting to get into trouble. Plaque can be removed by brushing. Some is removed by your saliva, but as it gets harder and larger, it’s time for a dental cleaning.
3. The Plaque Is Still There. You couldn’t brush it all away and the thicker plaque is hard for your salvia to dissolve. Now, it’s going to start doing damage. As the plaque continues to form, it eats that sugar and that creates acid. The acid is in the plaque so it’s very difficult to wash it away or brush it away. The enamel on your teeth is made up of mineral salts like calcium. The minerals in your saliva makes your teeth strong, but not strong enough to overcome the acid which begins to dissolve the minerals in your enamel. Now, the hard surface become porous with tiny holes.
4. Here Comes The Cavity. The tiny holes caused by the acid continue to collect acid and they continue to grow. As they grow bigger, they become a cavity. You don’t feel it yet, but it’s happening.
5. Why No Pain? There aren’t any nerve endings in the enamel so you don’t feel a thing until the hole caused by the acid eats through the enamel and attacks the next layer – the dentin. It’s found the nerves and the pain begins – but, by the time it does, you have tooth decay.
6. It Can Get Worse. Ignoring the pain and the dentist? Not a good idea. A deep cavity (or an accident) can cause a tooth to crack or break. Then, the inside of the tooth, the pulp (the blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth) can become infected. That’s when you need a root canal or root canal therapy as it is also called. The dentist will remove the damaged pulp, clean, shape, file and seal the tooth. Not fun and avoidable!
As you can see by the steps to tooth decay, the damage starts before you feel any pain. That’s one of the reasons that every family member – children and adults – need to find a full-service dental office in Phoenix and schedule their regular cleanings and exams.