What Are the Stages of Tooth Decay?
August 17, 2022
Dentists typically recommend dental crowns in Lake Worth to support and protect severely decayed teeth from further damage. However, tooth decay goes through five stages before it reaches this point.
A Closer Look at the Five Stages of Tooth Decay
Stage One: White Spots Below the Enamel’s Surface
When sugar and acids attack the tooth’s protective outer layer called the enamel, the tooth demineralizes, and white spots begin to form just below the enamel’s surface. Since these white spots usually occur on the molars, detecting them can be challenging without regular dentist visits. The dentist can catch this issue as they perform a thorough checkup.
It’s worth noting that you can still reverse the decay’s progression at this stage. Besides getting regular fluoride treatments at the dentist, using fluoridated toothpaste can stop cavities from penetrating through your tooth enamel and reaching the second stage.
Stage Two: Tooth Erosion and Enamel Decay
Stage two marks the beginning of tooth erosion from the underside of the tooth outward. The outer enamel stays intact during the first half of the second stage. However, once decay and cavities break through the enamel’s surface, the tooth will require a filling.
Stage Three: Dentin Decay
A cavity starts causing pain once it progresses beyond stage two. At this point, the decay begins eating away at the dentin, the second level of tooth mineral found beneath the enamel. The dentist uses a filling to stop harmful bacteria from assaulting the tooth before it reaches the dental pulp.
Stage Four: The Cavity Reaches the Pulp
Stage Five: Abscess Formation
By this stage, the infection reaches the tip of the tooth’s root and exits the structure’s tip, possibly infecting the surrounding tissues and the bone supporting the tooth. Swelling and severe pain are common as an abscess or a buildup of pus in the teeth or gums develops.