Teeth

Tooth decay and  tooth wear are the two main disease processes which directly affect and damage the hard surfaces of teeth.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth and are not effectively removed after eating and they stay on the surfaces of teeth forming a thin layer known as plaque. If sugar is also present then over time the bacteria use the sugar as fuel and gradually produce acid which attack the surfaces of the teeth forming a cavity. This process can take up to a year to develop and symptoms such as sensitivity and toothache only occur after the cavity has been present for a while. If there is decay then this needs to be removed and the tooth restored with a filling. However if the decay has spread too far then the only options may be either be a root canal treatment or extraction.  For teeth which have very large fillings or even have been root treated and are weakened a crown may be necessary to strengthen the remaining tooth structure.

Tooth wear does not involve the action of bacteria on teeth but instead can be caused by abrasion ( such as brushing too hard), erosion ( e.g acid in the diet destroying the teeth) and attrition ( e.g grinding teeth together at night). Often tooth wear occurs over a prolonged period of time and symptoms can vary from pain and sensitivity of the teeth themselves to problems with the jaw joint due to disharmony in the "bite". As with most dental conditions prevention is better than cure. During your through initial examination we can make you aware of any problems of existing and early tooth wear and offer advice  as to how further problems can be avoided.