Dental caries is one of the most common diseases in the world. It is a bacterial disease that results in a continuing loss of mineral ions from the tooth structure due to the presence of acid-producing oral bacteria and is the process that leads to tooth decay.
Tooth decay is the cause of cavities, pain, tooth loss and infection. It is the main reason why people seek dental treatment such as fillings, root canal treatment, extractions and other costly complicated dental procedures.
In the early stage of the disease, a white spot starts to form on the tooth surface. At this stage, the decay process is reversible as the tooth surface is still intact. If the caries disease is not treated, the continued loss of tooth minerals from the tooth results in the formation of a cavity, and the process then becomes irreversible. In severe cases, the caries can spread to the dental pulp causing pulpal infection.
Caries disease is a totally preventable disease, and with correct intervention, early caries can be reversed. A simple Caries Assessment Test (CAT) can be carried out to assess your risk for caries disease. Prevention is better than cure and in the case of dental caries, prevention is certainly more cost-effective, less time-consuming and best of all, pain-free!
In order for us to prevent dental caries, we must first understand that it arises from a complex interaction of bacteria and sugar on our teeth over a period of time. Sugar may come from various food sources, and not just sweets. In addition, caries formation is affected by numerous factors such as saliva, diet, oral hygiene habits and even lifestyle.
Every individual will have a different predisposition towards dental caries. Once a basic dental examination is done, our dentists can carry out the CAT by providing you with:
These tests are quick and painless and will help in identifying the factors predisposing you to caries disease.
With these results, a preventive strategy tailored to your needs will be designed. The strategy will include:
If you experience any of the above, understanding your risk for caries is half the battle won. The best results are achieved when patients are committed to following the prevention strategies drawn up between the dentists and themselves. Caries can recur at any stage in your life, even after this test.
However, partnering responsibly with your dentist improves tremendously the chances of it NOT becoming an irreversible disease in your life.