Rotten or decayed teeth are teeth that have become damaged by decay or infection. Signs include pain and marks or holes in tooth enamel. Decay usually results from inadequate oral hygiene, but certain health conditions increase the risk.
People with decayed teeth may experience pain, sensitivity, and difficulty eating.
As healthy teeth are critical for overall well-being, decayed teeth require urgent dental treatment. Treatment depends on the severity of the decay and ranges from fluoride toothpaste use to complete tooth extraction.
This article looks at rotten or decayed teeth, their symptoms and treatment, and how a person can prevent these dental issues.
The term “rotten teeth” describes teeth with damaged surface enamel and underlying decay.
This occurs when oral bacteria make acid that attacks the tooth enamel, which is the protective outer coating of the teeth.
The decay leads to cavities or caries, which are permanent spots of tooth damage that cause tiny holes. At first, a person may notice brown or discolored spots on the teeth. As the decay worsens, holes develop.
If a person does not seek treatment, this can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
A person with rotten teeth may experience
- marks on the tooth enamel
- holes on the surface of the tooth
- pain when eating or drinking
- tooth sensitivity
A buildup of plaque, combined with insufficient oral hygiene and consuming excess sugar,
Plaque is a sticky film that covers the teeth. It consists of bacteria, saliva, and food particles.
As the bacteria metabolize food and sugars, acid forms on the surface of the teeth. If a person does not clean their teeth properly, the acid erodes the tooth enamel, slowly damaging them and leading to rotten teeth.
Some people may have a
Additionally, younger children may object to a caregiver cleaning their teeth, contributing to poor oral hygiene.
When permanent teeth first erupt, they are also very sensitive. The enamel is not yet fully hardened, making them vulnerable to tooth decay. They can also cause sore gums, which can make children less likely to brush their teeth properly.
A dentist usually recommends a filling if the individual has a hole or cavity in their tooth. This involves drilling a hole in the damaged area to remove any decayed tissue and refilling the cavity. A dentist may use a synthetic resin, ceramic, or metal material to fill the tooth.
The dentist may recommend a crown in cases of more severe tooth damage. This artificial cap fits over the damaged part of the tooth once the dentist files it down.
Should the decay or infection affect the nerves of the tooth, a root canal treatment may help. This procedure involves removing the damaged tissue from the root space and disinfecting and filling the area.
If the dentist cannot save the tooth, they may recommend tooth extraction and replacement with a bridge, denture, or implant.
The best way to prevent rotten teeth is to practice proper oral hygiene. This involves brushing the teeth with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and getting regular dental checkups.
Fluoride toothpaste helps strengthen tooth enamel, protecting the teeth against decay. Children should also use fluoride toothpaste as soon as their first baby teeth erupt. However, caregivers should take care not to use too much toothpaste, as excessive fluoride can have side effects.
Brushing removes the plaque and harmful bacteria that produce damaging acid, and dentists recommend brushing teeth at least twice a day after meals. It is also important to use dental floss to remove food and plaque particles.
People may consider moderating their sugar intake to reduce the risk of tooth decay. High sugar foods include candy, fruit juices, ketchup, and soda.
Regular dental checkups also help protect teeth, as the dentist can identify and treat any tooth decay at an early stage. They can also apply a fluoride varnish to the teeth and seal any pits and grooves on the larger back teeth with a plastic dental sealant.
Rotten teeth are a serious dental concern that can lead to more significant health issues if left untreated.
Most people can prevent rotten teeth by practicing good oral hygiene and seeking dental attention if they develop tooth decay. A dentist can restore tooth health with fillings, crowns, or root canal treatments.
However, in severe cases, they may need to extract the tooth and replace it with a manufactured alternative.
Decay and damage can cause rotten teeth, which can be sensitive and painful. If a person has rotten teeth, their dentist may recommend treatments such as fillings, root canals, or crowns to restore dental health.
Practicing good oral hygiene and regularly seeing the dentist are the best ways to prevent rotten teeth. People with certain health conditions, as well as children, may be more prone to tooth decay.