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Why you shouldn’t wait for pain to treat a cavity

Written by Admin |Updated : February 26, 2014 4:57 PM IST

Cavity treatedWhat do you do when you find out that you have a cavity? Do you visit your dentist and get it filled or do you just ignore it and wait for the toothache before you think of getting it filled? If your answer is a yes for the latter, you are just waiting for a disaster to happen.

Getting it filled is the wise option

Tooth decay is a bacterial infection which causes demineralization and destruction of the tooth. It first affects the enamel of the tooth. At this stage it can be stopped from further progression by re-calcification of enamel with fluoride treatment. But if left untreated, it can get larger and affect the inner layers dentin and pulp - of the tooth.

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Once the decay reaches the second layer, i.e. the dentin, it progresses faster and you may experience sensitivity in the tooth. To prevent more damage to the tooth you will need to get it filled. Failure to do so will cause the decay to spread to pulp, the innermost layer of the tooth with nerves and blood vessels. You may or may not experience pain at this stage. When the pulp gets infected just filling the tooth is not an option! Your tooth can be fixed only with a root canal treatment (RCT) followed by a restoration of the tooth with a crown. And in some case, you may not be lucky enough. The tooth may become beyond repair needing it to be extracted. The infection from the pulp may also spread to the periodontal ligament (fibres that attach tooth to the bone) leading to its destruction and ultimately, loss of teeth.

Still wondering whether it's worth getting your tooth drilled when you have no pain with it? Here's another reason. An involved treatment like a root canal can be a ten fold increase in cost compared to a simple filling. And this does not even include the cost of the crown that follows a root canal treatment! In case you lose the tooth, replacing it with implants can cost you dearer.

It could lead to unwanted complications too

Infected pulp will eventually die. This can lead to an abscess which can leave you with one of the worst dental pains ever. The bacterial infection from the abscess can spread and cause complications like a dental cyst (fluid-filled cavity),sinusitis, osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) or sepsis (infection throughout the body). Rarely, it can also cause potentially fatal conditions like Ludwig's angina (swelling and intense pain under the tongue and in the neck) and cavernous sinus thrombosis (blood clot in a large vein at the base of the brain). Still want to take the risk?

The post Why you shouldn't wait for pain to treat a cavity first appeared first on Colgate Total Blog.

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