Tooth decay is one of the most common dental diseases in both children and adults. Although cavities, or tooth decay, may be considered a childhood disease, many adults are diagnosed with them as well. The main difference in childhood decay and adult decay is the actual location of the cavity.
For children, decay typically develops on the biting surfaces of the molars or the surfaces where the teeth touch one another. In adults, decay is found on the same surface as well as on the root surfaces of the teeth. Factors such as diet, medications, and homecare habits can greatly influence your risk and rate of decay.
When detected in the very earliest stages, decay can be addressed and corrected. If decay is left untreated, it can spread throughout the teeth, beyond the point of repair.
If Dr. Richard Sousa, your dentist serving Long Island, is able to detect decay in its early stages, the chances of saving your natural tooth are very high. Digital imaging technology makes it possible to see the most minute breakdown in the enamel. Often, a cavity can be identified and treated well before it is visible to the naked eye, and months before it causes pain or sensitivity for you.
In the event that the decay is not identified early, it can quickly spread throughout the soft inner structures of the tooth and approach the nerve. For most patients, sensitivity to temperature and pressure may become noticeable. As the decay progresses, involving the nerve of the tooth, the tooth also becomes significantly weakened. Normal chewing forces can fracture and break the tooth unexpectedly.
In some cases, the tooth erodes down to the gum line, and oral surgery is necessary to remove the remaining tooth structure.
In the fight against disease, early detection is still the very best protection. This includes dental disease. If you feel that you should be evaluated for early signs of decay, call the office of Dr. Sousa at 516-484-6600 to schedule your appointment right away.