Dental caries is an infectious disease caused by the interaction of multiple factors that cause the destruction of the hard tissues of the tooth. When eating or drinking, the bacteria present in the dental bacterial plaque metabolize the sugars producing acids that demineralize the enamel, a fact that if repeated over time will lead to the appearance of caries.
This is considered the most common oral disease in humans and the main cause of destruction and/or loss of teeth, but if it is taken into account that each of the factors that produce it can be modified, it will be achieved with adequate prevention, not only reduce its appearance but it can also be stopped in its initial stage and prevent it from causing further damage.
How to know if you have cavities?
It is very difficult for the patient to detect a cavity when it is in its initial stage, hence the importance of attending annual check-ups. However, as the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms are more evident, related to a significant destruction of the tooth and its proximity to the nerve. These are:
Loss of enamel shine, showing a matt white color in its initial state.
Presence of spots in a specific area that can be brown, gray or black.
Dental sensitivity to temperature changes, that is, when eating very cold or very hot foods.
Pain when chewing acidic or sweet foods.
In advanced caries, the pain is usually spontaneous and continuous.
Appearance of a cavity or hole in the affected tooth.
Bad breath and unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Diagnosis of dental caries
The early diagnosis of dental caries is of vital importance for the conservation of the tooth. The most used clinical diagnostic methods are:
Visual inspection: It can be done directly or with the use of a mirror, adequate lighting is required and the tooth surface must be clean and dry. It is the most used method.
Tactile examination: Interpretation of the presence of caries by retaining the explorer probe in the softened dental tissue widely used to detect root caries. The explorer probe is a fine instrument through which cavitation or softening can be detected by pressing it on the affected area.
Tran illumination: Carious lesions lose the translucency of the dental structure, since its structure becomes porous due to demineralization, so that it scatters visible light when it falls on it. It is widely used to detect interproximal caries (caries located between one tooth and another).
Radiographic examination: The radiograph records the degree of dental mineralization and as caries is an area where there is demineralization, this will be observed dark, due to changes in the absorption of X-rays.
Laser fluorescence: A laser system is capable of detecting a carious lesion based on the difference in fluorescence between healthy and demineralized enamel, it is very useful for caries that are hidden.
Treatment of dental caries
The treatment will depend on the degree of involvement of the carious tooth and whether it is a temporary or permanent tooth.
Application of fluorinated compounds: When caries is in its initial stage, it can be stopped with the application of fluorine-based compounds, which will inhibit the demineralization produced by acids and will have a remineralizing effect on tooth enamel.
Reconstruction or Filling (Filling): If the caries continues to advance and affects the dentin (layer that is located under the enamel) but without affecting the dental pulp (nerve), it will be necessary to perform a filling or reconstruction that consists of removing all the tissue infected and later restore the tooth using composite resins or composites, returning the shape and function to the affected tooth. We have to take into account that dental tissues do not have the capacity to regenerate once they have been damaged, hence the need to replace them with other materials.
The children’s dentist in flower mound will perform the tooth extraction when there is no other alternative. In cases where the eruption of the permanent successor is delayed, it will be convenient to place a space maintainer and thus ensure its correct location in the dental arch.