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Plaque and Tooth Decay

Plaque and Tooth Decay

Plaque and Tooth Decay

Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. Plaque is soft and you can remove it with brushing and flossing. Bacteria feed on sugar within our diet and produce an acid, which dissolves the surface of our teeth. This is tooth decay. The greater the acid produced, the more the tooth structure is eaten away and the larger the decay gets, creating a hole or cavity.

Decay starts off really small and keeps getting larger, until it reaches the nerve of your tooth. If decay is found early, it can be managed with our professional fluoride applications, good home brushing with fluoride toothpastes and regular check ups. If the decay is shallow but has already caused a hole, the tooth will need a filling. If the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth, the tooth will need root canal treatment or removing.

Performing a dental examination and taking radiographs (x-rays), allows decay to be diagnosed. Early diagnosis of decay is important. We also use a special instrument called the Diagnodent – which is a German laser light. This is painless and is placed on the tooth surface. It produces a reading when decay is present. We use these techniques to help manage and start to control the decay.

You will not feel pain from decay unless it is large enough to cause some irritation to the nerve of the tooth. By reducing sweets in diet, brushing twice per day and having regular check ups at least twice per year, you will reduce your risk of developing decay.

Plaque and Tooth Decay

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