Dental caries is infectious and transmissible disease of tooth structure. It might surprise you that bacterial cause of tooth decay can be passed along from person to person.

Dental caries or tooth decay is caused by specific types of bacteria. They produce acid that destroys the tooth’s enamel and the layer under it, the dentin. Many different types of bacteria normally live in the human mouth. They build up on the teeth in a sticky film called plaque. This plaque also contains saliva, bits of food and other natural substances. It forms most easily in cracks, pits or grooves in the back teeth, between the teeth, around dental fillings, bridges and restorations and near the gum line.

To detect caries dental practitioner uses clinical examination, radiographic findings (x-rays) and if needed additional diagnostic tests. Only incipient (initial) carious lesions that are confined to the enamel (the most outer layer of the tooth) can be monitored and eventually reversed. Once caries progresses into the dentin (layer under enamel) it becomes irreversible and dentist needs to remove it and replace with restorative material. If patient has excellent oral hygiene, uses fluoride supplements and decreases intake of fermentable carbohydrates (such as sticky candies, chocolate, sodas, etc.) he has a good chance of having cavity-free check-ups.

Major complications of extensive carious lesions (tooth decay) are pain, swelling and eventual tooth loss. Endodontic treatment (root canal) is indicated to treat the affected tooth if the caries encroaches pulp of the tooth or if the removal of the decay would cause the exposure of the pulp. Sometimes, extent of decay is so large that extraction of the tooth is the only option for the patient.

At Carlisle Dental Studio our goal is to detect tooth decay at the earliest stage. With our clinical expertise, digital radiography and composite materials we are in a position to diagnose and treat tooth decay with minimally invasive methods. Prevention of tooth decay is your least expensive ticket on the journey through the world of pain-free dental visits. Our dental hygienists and dentists would be happy to advise you on the most effective way to avoid dental caries.