Have you ever wondered why there are some spots or stains that cannot be removed, no matter how many times you’ve brushed? Do these pictures looks familiar?
As dental surgeons, we see this plenty! These are what we call Dental Caries. It’s the disease of the teeth, and quite literally it is basically the destruction of the teeth structures. Caries is caused by bacteria that is found in the mouth, that gets its energy from food that has been stuck on our tooth surfaces and produces acid that destroys our teeth slowly!
The worse part about dental caries, is that it is completely painless!! Until it reaches the pulp of the tooth, which is a bundle of veins, arteries and nerves compressed together in the deep part of our teeth. The pulp gives our teeth life! Once caries has spread and got into contact with the pulp, there’s no turning back. You will usually end up with severe unbearable pain, then as the pulp slowly degenerates and dies, the pain stops, but the infection continues into the bone!! The only way to treat the tooth now is either a Root Canal Treatment (costly) or taking out the tooth, before it spreads its infection to other structures and further destroys the bone.
But fret not, before caries proceeds to the irreversible, dental fillings can be done! As dental surgeons, we clear off the caries carefully, preserving every viable and sound tooth structure, and place a tooth coloured filling in replace of the destructed structures. This is ensures that the exposed site is covered, fortified with a biomimetic filling material and sealed properly.
In the end, it’s up to the patient to be aware of these things for us dental surgeons to act quickly. Therefore we do our best to educate patients about their oral health, remind them about oral hygiene and its importance, and most of all, instil the habit of getting patients to come for their dental check up every 4-6 months. After all, you only have one set of adult teeth!