Tooth Structure & Dental Cavities

What Is The Basic Structure Of The Tooth?

Teeth are comprised of the following three layers:

  1. Enamel (Outer layer): This is the white portion of the tooth that we see in our mouth.
  2. Dentin (Middle layer): This layer is not normally visible to our eyes, because it is covered by the overlaying enamel layer. Dentin has a yellowish color.
  3. Pulp Chamber: This is the chamber at the core of tooth, which contains the nerve & the blood supply of the tooth.

What Is A Cavity?

A cavity is portion of the tooth that has been structurally weakened. Three main factors contribute to this process:

  1. Bacteria: Our mouth contain a wide array of bacteria. The bacteria consume portion of the foods that we eat. The metabolic byproduct of these bacteria is acid, which damages the tooth structure. This explains why reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth via good oral hygiene reduces the risk of getting cavities.
  2. Diet: Sugars & carbohydrate are the primary source of nutrients for oral bacteria. This explains why high sugar intake increase the risk of getting cavities. The more sugar we consume, the more acid the bacteria will produce, resulting in more extensive structural damage to the teeth.
  3. Time: The more time we allow the bacteria & the acid to sit in the mouth, the higher the risk of getting cavities. This explains why regular hygiene visits at the dentist can reduce the risk of getting cavities by reducing the amount of bacteria & acid present in the mouth.

Are Cavities Painful?

The process of tooth decay & cavity formation starts from the outer surface of the tooth (i.e. enamel) & works its way inwards. Once the enamel layer is fully compromised, the cavity spreads onto the dentin layer, and will eventually make its way into the pulp chamber. Once the pulp chamber is compromised, bacteria will invade the nerve tissue & result in its inflammation. The pressure build up inside the tooth resulting from the inflammation of the nerve triggers toothache. Therefore, in the early stages, cavities often don't result in toothache, because only the outer layers farther from the nerve are being targeted. As the cavity becomes deeper & closer to the nerve, the risk of toothache becomes greater. Severe toothache often results, when the cavity has reached deep into the tooth & has invaded the nerve. Subsequently, it's best to fix cavities during the early stages, when there is no involvement of the nerve, to reduce the risk of toothache.

If you suspect that your teeth have cavities, resulting in toothache & discomfort, it's crucial to take action. Dr. Naman Zia Ebrahimi is here to guide you through the process. Following a thorough examination of your oral health, Dr. Ebrahimi will provide you with expert advice and recommend the most suitable treatment option tailored to your specific needs. 

Your journey towards improved oral health and well-being begins with a simple step – contacting us. Reach out to Naman Z. Ebrahimi, DMD dental office, in Fountain Valley, to schedule your dental appointment and take the first stride towards a healthier, pain-free smile.

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