We have had an increasing influx of patients to our office perceived to have pieces of their tooth chipped away over time. Unfortunately, in several cases they are well past the time or the offending tooth was so badly decayed that the tooth couldn’t be rescued. And there are some who showed up with discomfort.
Something that was common across each case is that the patient waited until the eleventh hour to seek dental care. It is quite often the incruciating pain that makes patient press the panic button. Yet we encounter cases where pain wasn’t quite a concern but the decayed tooth was.
How is this possible?
Let’s begin with a bit of dental anatomy to understand things. The enamel, or the outer layer of teeth, is the hardest material in your body. Note here as the composition of enamel is majorly mineral, it is possible that one can develop decay without undergoing any painful sensation. Interestingly, your dentist can drill that part of the tooth without your experiencing any pain at all. The next layer beneath the enamel is known as dentin. Decay can run into the dentin – where it generally spreads more rapidly as it isn’t that hard – and, again, a patient may still not feel any pain at all.
Now here comes the danger: by the time someone starts to yell out of pain, the decay would have already made its way into the pulp – the innermost layer that has blood vessels and nerves. Now this is the most painful part. If the patient is left with enough tooth structure, he or she can undergo root canal treatment immediately. Otherwise, the usual method is tooth extraction.
One decayed tooth, if unattended, can lead to other dental issues. They include TMJ problems, shifting teeth, cosmetic difficulties, periodontal problems or plainly difficulty chewing. It can cause loss of more teeth, let alone the fact that options for tooth replacement can turn out to be bit complicated and pricey.
This blog is an attempt to encourage readers to visit their local dentist at least once a while, if they haven’t seen any dentist in a long time. Sometimes people fear about cavities that require treatment, hence they conveniently brush things under the carpet. But remember the old adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine’- this particularly holds true if you haven’t been to the dentist for ages.