5 Common Types of Tooth Decay

Tooth DecayWhile you probably already know what a cavity is, you might not know that there are actually different types of cavities and each one presents a different set of problems. While each cavity type shares some relation to the others, the primary ones have unique appearances and factors. Fortunately, our Houston teeth whitening services can both address each type of decay and get your teeth looking happy and healthy again.

How Tooth Decay Begins

Tooth decay starts with the formation of bad bacteria. We say bad here because there are a lot of good bacteria that live in your mouth, too. Sugary foods and drinks provide this bad bacteria with what it needs to form the acids that slowly chip away at your tooth enamel. This process is the basis for all cavities and types of tooth decay.

1. Surface Decay

Surface decay denotes the pre-cavity stage. This is because there is not yet a depression or pit in your tooth, only a small spot that could appear as off-white or brown. Surface decay happens when plaque has eroded the upper layers of enamel but hasn’t yet penetrated to the inner part of your tooth, which we call the dentin. Surface decay is one of the easiest forms of tooth decay for dentists to restore.

2. Demineralization

De-mineralization is similar to surface decay. However, while surface decay can be an easy cosmetic fix, de-mineralization takes away what your tooth needs in order to keep its defenses strong. This results in the cosmetic changes of surface decay along with enamel that is weaker to subsequent attacks from bad bacteria.

3. Depressions or Holes

At some point, acids may break through your enamel to reach that inner layer we mentioned. When this happens, holes or deep depressions may form. This type of tooth decay is dangerous if nothing is done about it. It can spread or worsen, eventually destroying a whole tooth thanks to eroding the enamel and infecting the surrounding area. Our experts are prepared to treat any such signs of decay with fillings. We can safely remove the damaged portions and replace them with tooth colored restorations.

4. Complete Cracking

As a depression worsens, it may form a huge crack in your tooth while the decay spreads toward the root. When this happens, the decay is more noticeable, and we can take steps to correct the problem before it reaches the nerves at the root of the tooth.

5. Root Decay

You may have thought that a pitted tooth is the worst, but some types of decay are even more serious. The problem with cavities is that if you don’t see them, you can’t feel them either until they reach the root. This is because only the root contains nerve endings, so it is here that a cavity will start to cause pain. Our trained professionals will remove decay, perform a root canal and place a dental crown (cup) over the tooth. While that may sound daunting, root canals nowadays are relatively quick and pain-free. Best of all, we save your teeth.