What is tooth decay, and when is it a dental emergency?

Tooth decay treatment

Tooth decay happens when your tooth enamel gets damaged and loses its hard texture. Living bacteria in your mouth breakdown the food and produce acids that damage your tooth’s surface. Then tooth decay forms as a result. Although tooth decay is somehow preventable for everyone, it can cause severe dental emergencies in more complicated stages. Tooth cavities, tooth abscess, and even tooth loss may happen due to untreated tooth decay.

tooth decay

What causes tooth decay?

There are different kinds of bacteria living in our mouth, some beneficial and some harmful. These bacteria feed on starch and sugar in your food and form dental plaque on your teeth’s surface. Bacteria gradually produce acids in combination with dental plaque. Acids harm the minerals in your enamel and soften your tooth’s hard surface. Tooth decay can also develop and damage the whole tooth pulp, nerves, and even your gum and jaw bone tissue. In this case, you should seek treatment in a trusted emergency dental clinic like Emergency Dental Office.

Who is in danger of tooth decay?

People who don’t care enough about their oral hygiene are at the highest risk for tooth decay. Besides, excessive consumption of sugary and starchy food is harmful to your healthy teeth. Tooth decay may also occur in some people with a particular disease and those who undergo specific treatments. When the needed amount of saliva is not produced in your mouth, tooth decay appears more probably.

Tooth decay symptoms

Tooth decay typically does not warn you with symptoms in its early stages. As it worsens, you face signs such as toothache, tooth sensitivity, stains on your tooth enamel, tooth cavity, and infection, which leads to abscess and more complicated dental emergencies. If you are looking for a professional emergency dentist in North York and the surrounded area, contact our Emergency dental office with no hesitation.

Tooth decay diagnosis

We all have heard regular check-ups by a dentist is necessary for everyone at any age. A dentist can diagnose tooth decay in regular visits and prevent emergency dental issues. There are usually some stains in a darker color than usual, on a more progressed decayed tooth. An x-ray also shows your tooth decay in more complicated conditions.

Tooth decay treatment

The type of treatment for your decayed tooth depends on its severity. In general, treatments include:


For a usual tooth cavity, the dentist removes the decayed part of your tooth’s tissue, then uses the dental filling method to restore the damaged parts.

Root canal treatment:

In more advanced stages, the tooth decay reaches the inner parts of your tooth, and the infection spreads to the nerves inside the tooth pulp. In this case, root canal therapy seems to be necessary to prevent tooth loss. The dentist has to remove the infected tooth pulp then clean the inside of your tooth. The dental filling is the next step in which the dentist uses filling material, and sometimes a crown, to make your tooth look and function as usual.

Tooth extraction:

If the tooth decay remains untreated for a long time, your damaged tooth may not be able to get fixed. In this case, your dentist extracts the decayed tooth. You can replace this missing tooth with different cosmetic dentistry methods such as dental bridges or dental implants.

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Dr. John Doe

Dr. John Doe

Written by Finn Maguire Cohen for Emergency Dental Office — Fact checked by Dr. John Doe