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What Are the Different Stages of Tooth Decay?

POSTED ON August 08, 2021

When your teeth are full of plaque and tartar, they can lead to the formation of cavities, the development of tooth abscesses, and worse – maybe even tooth loss. Tooth decay is caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Two of the best ways to prevent plaque buildup include adhering to an oral care routine and making sure you visit your dentist in Bridle Trails Bellevue, WA, twice per year.

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Understanding the Stages of Tooth Decay

First Stage: Initial Demineralization

Your teeth have a protective outer layer known as the enamel. It's a hard tissue that's composed of minerals. When plaque releases acids, the enamel will start losing its minerals.

If this happens, you'll notice chalky white spots on your teeth. This is the first sign that you have tooth decay.

Second Stage: Enamel Starts Decaying

When plaque continues to build up on your teeth, your enamel will soon lose its integrity and start breaking down. The white spots will turn into a brownish color. When your enamel's strength and integrity are compromised, you'll start seeing holes and pits known as cavities.

Third Stage: Decay of the Dentin

Underneath the enamel is a layer called dentin. Unlike the enamel, the dentin is softer and is more susceptible to damage, especially when it's exposed to acids.

When the decay isn't addressed right away, it will eventually reach the dentin. You'll know if it has reached it if you start experiencing tooth sensitivity.

Fourth Stage: Damage to the Pulp

At the center of the tooth is the pulp. It's found within your tooth's chamber and contains blood vessels, tissues, and nerves.

The nerves are also responsible for providing sensation to your tooth. When the decay reaches the pulp, it will get inflamed and irritated, and eventually tooth pain.

Fifth Stage: Tooth Abscess

The last and final stage of tooth decay is tooth abscess. It's when pus forms at the bottom of your tooth. When it reaches this stage, you may experience intense pain that may reach your jaw.

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Are You Looking for a Reliable Dentist in Bridle Trails Bellevue, WA?

To ensure that your teeth are healthy, you should see a dentist at least twice a year. Contact us today to make an appointment.

At Bel-Red Best Smiles, we offer a wide range of treatments and services to help improve your oral health. If you want to make an appointment, give us a call.

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