The 5 Stages of Tooth Decay


You may think that the process of tooth decay only starts when you feel pain, but is that true?

Tooth decay is a process that includes many different stages– it can take a long time for tooth decay to develop fully. However, unless you take steps, it will progress and get really bad.

Every stage comes with its own distinctive traits. If you can spot the signs of tooth decay relatively early while on a visit to the dentist or at home, you have the chance to prevent disease and further damage.

Take a look at each of these 5 stages.

Stage 1: White Spots

By the time that you see the teeth’s visible surfaces display white spots, you are already witnessing the signs of demineralization. This is a process that’s related to acids and sugars working on and attacking the enamel of the tooth. You can adjust your oral care routine at home and visit your dentist to try and address this process, restoring and reversing it. Cavities present can then be treated.

Stage 2: Enamel Decaying

Bacteria has nearly accomplished its job breaking through the enamel on the surface by this point. The teeth slowly erode and the underside is the first to go. This means that the outer enamel may be intact, but the decay will break through eventually to form its own cavity. This will mean that you’ll need a filling so that further damage does not occur.

Stage 3: Dentin Decay

Sitting behind your enamel with a natural yellow appearance, this is the dentin layer. Stage three will see the enamel wearing down to the point where this is a visible layer. You may be witnessing even greater sensitivity with your teeth or maybe pain. You are likely aware of the decay going on by now. Fillings can be used so that damage does not go further, but they may be more extensive and larger.

Stage 4: Decay Starts on the Pulp

Your teeth or the pulp of the tooth in question has many nerve endings. When the decay gets to this layer, you may fee more discomfort and pain than ever. Decay reaching the pulp means that the only thing that will help is a root canal. This will take more measures that are invasive in order to clean and ultimately restore the tooth’s center. Decay that gets to the tooth’s pulp is a real dental emergency, meaning you need to have a dentist take a look at it and treat it as soon as possible.

Stage 5: The Infection

The last and final tooth decay stage will be the infection. This is when an infection gets to the tip of the root of the tooth and exits from the bottom of the structure of the tooth. This will cause damage to bone as well as surrounding tissues. It will also cause swelling as well as really bad pain and bad breath. An abscess that develops under the root of the tooth may be fatal. This stage requires an extraction or root canal immediately. Decay is prevented with care at home and dental visits twice a year.

Schedule a dental appointment today and be sure that you have no decay developing!