Tooth or Consequences: How Cavities Can Lead to Tooth Loss

Tooth Loss and Cavities - Memphis, TN


Oct 5, 2016 @ 02:35 PM — by Timothy Messer
Tagged with: Missing Teeth | Tooth Decay | Restorative Dentistry |

A tooth affected by a cavityHere at Southwind Dental Care, we are able to address all sort of major and minor dental problems. Many times minor problems can lead to major ones, which is why earlier treatment is always best. This is part of our approach to advanced restorative dentistry, focusing on prevention whenever possible to preserve the smiles of patients in and around Memphis.

On the note of minor problems turning into major ones, cavities can lead to the loss of teeth if it's not dealt with in time. Let's cover the basics of this issue and discuss some options for treatment and prevention.

About Cavities

Cavities occur when tooth structure is compromised as a result of oral bacteria. This is the same oral bacteria that causes gum disease and bad breath.

Oral bacteria naturally occurs in the mouth and feeds on food particles. In the process, the oral bacteria creates acidity as well as a biofilm called plaque. The plaque allows the oral bacteria to remain on the surface of the teeth and do damage. This plaque can harden into tartar. When left untreated, cavities can affect penetrate the enamel of a tooth, affecting the dentin and even the soft tissue inside of the tooth.

The Dangers of Cavities

There are a few significant dangers to consider when it comes to cavities and your teeth.

  • Weakened Tooth Structure – When tooth decay affects a tooth, it can lead to compromised overall structure. When the enamel and dentin are not strong, this makes major chips, cracks, and breaks likely, even when just biting and chewing as you normally would.

  • Tooth Decay Below the Gumline – In addition to cavities affecting the crown of a tooth, it's possible for oral bacteria to eat away at tooth structure beneath the gumline. This can increase tooth sensitivity and make potential tooth damage far more likely as well.

  • Loose Teeth – With time, tooth decay can result in teeth that are loose as well as sore. Combined with the other dangers, this spells an increased risk of tooth loss.

  • Root Canal Infection – When the oral bacteria gets past the enamel and dentin, it can potentially infect the soft tissue in the tooth. This is a substance known as dental pulp. When the dental pulp gets infected, it can be quite painful. In order to alleviate pain and prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of the mouth, extraction is necessary.

Treatment Options for Tooth Decay

There are plenty of dental restorations that can be used to treat tooth decay. This includes fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns. The ideal restoration will depend on the extent of the tooth decay. These restorations come in metal and tooth-colored form, which can be used as needed.

Treatment Options for Tooth Loss

If you wind up losing a tooth or multiple teeth, there are numerous treatments to consider as well. Dental bridges and dentures are excellent options to consider. Dental implants may also be considered to help fix an appliance in place.

Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay

To prevent tooth decay and have a healthy and beautiful smile, consider the following tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day (ideally after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night (ideally after every meal)
  • Avoid snacking on sugary foods and junk food
  • Reduce your consumption of soft drinks
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for routine dental checkups

Learn More About Treating Tooth Decay

For more information about tooth decay and your many options available for advanced dental care, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team at Southwind Dental Care is here to help you smile with renewed confidence.