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Angshumita Ojah
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Dental Caries -a brief introduction and treatment

10 October 2021

Dental Caries -A brief introduction and treatment

Teeth in the mouth are structures used for chewing and grinding of food.They are 32 in number in the permanent dentition and 20 in the primary dentition.

Teeth are hard structures made of enamel,dentin and cementum underneath which lies pulp chamber composed of pulp that consists of blood vessels and nerves

Teeth helps us in the process of mastication and are structurally designed to do so.The four main types are -

1.Incisors -biting of food we eat

2.Canines- tearing of the food

3.Premolars -tearing and grinding of food

4.Molars-tearing,crushing and grinding of food

Anatomically molars are the largest teeth present in the oral cavity while canines are the sharpest.Premolars and molars both have flat biting surfaces

Caries - It is caused due to the attachment of bacteria on the teeth surfaces due to the presence of sucrose ,other sugars and carbohydrate content present in food.These bacteria cause breakdown of the enamel and dentin by releasing acids.This process is chronic and leads to hole in the tooth surface known as cavity ,which if not treated may lead to infection and eventually loss of tooth

Early tooth decay isn’t very symptomatic while it can cause pain and sensitive tooth if it is chronic.It is detected by regular dental checkup.Patients of all ages may have decayed tooth be it early childhood or senior citizen years.Young children are prone to nursing bottle caries that may be caused due to intake of milk.

During a regular dental check the tooth may appear to have white spots and later on darker spots indicating dental caries.

Treatment- The most common and effective method of treating a dental cavity is by filling it using a filling material after removing the decayed structures of the tooth

Tooth coloured fillings resemble closest to the natural dental structures hence are the most preferable.

If the caries has pulpal involved root canal therapy maybe suggested to remove the affected pulp that causes pain making the tooth sensitive.

Sometimes when the decay is early fluoride treatment can be used to treat the caries,that cause repair and remineralisation of the tooth enamel

Prevention

First and foremost ,good oral hygiene is the best way to avoid tooth decay which includes brushing and flossing .

A fluoride tooth paste when used can repair the enamel and teeth structures healthy (used preferably twice a day)

Rinsing of the mouth after having sugary meals that can stick to the tooth surfaces

Flossing to remove food particles that are stuck in the interdental spaces to prevent bacterial growth and acid formation.

Using of an interdental brush to clean the areas that are otherwise not reachable by normal brushing

Using mouth wash to rinse the mouth every morning.

Dental check up every six months to get caries treated soon

Using dental sealants to form a protective covering on the tooth surfaces for the prevention of dental caries

Eating healthy and lessening the intake of sugary diets

Incorporating good oral hygiene habits in children to prevent early childhood caries in them ,fluoride releasing toothpastes and flossing,less intake sticky food like chocolates .

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