Rotten Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment

Rotten teeth are painful, and they're even embarrassing if they're at the front of your mouth. Yet fixing the problem might not be as difficult or expensive as you think. If your teeth are badly decayed, make an appointment to see your dentist for a proper assessment and a discussion about your options. Don't delay, because the consequences can be very serious.

Rotten Teeth Causes

"Rotten" is another way to describe teeth that are badly decayed. Tooth decay is often the result of eating sugary or starchy foods and not following a good oral care routine. If the teeth aren't cleaned regularly, mouth bacteria create a layer of sticky plaque that builds up and can dissolve tooth enamel. When the enamel is worn away, bacteria and plaque attack the softer dentin inside the tooth, and then the pulp at the tooth's center. At the final stage of tooth decay, an extremely painful infection in the pulp develops that can move under the tooth and into the gums.

Symptoms of Rotten Teeth

The Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms of tooth decay as toothache, tooth sensitivity and pain when biting down or eating sweet, hot or cold foods. You might also be able to see holes in the teeth, and they could be stained white, brown or black. When the decay is severe, it can interfere with your daily life. If an infection has started, you might see swelling and pus, and the pain could be so bad it interferes with your ability to eat, resulting in weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. In addition, rotten teeth can break or fall out.

Treatments for Rotten Teeth

Rotten teeth can quickly progress to an infection, which can turn dangerous. If the decay hasn't spread to the tooth pulp, your dentist can fill any cavities. However, if the pulp is affected, they can remove it in root canal work, then fill the tooth with a sterile dental material. When the cavity is so large it weakens the tooth structure, dentists often create an artificial covering called a crown that protects the rest of the tooth.

Alternatively, if a tooth is so badly decayed it can't be saved and must be extracted, your dentist can replace it with a false tooth called an implant or a dental bridge. An entire set of upper or lower teeth can be replaced with implants or dentures. Your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of each option before you agree to treatment, but don't wait before booking an appointment if your teeth are badly decayed. A tooth infection can quickly progress to a life-threatening condition called sepsis, warns the Sepsis Alliance. Sepsis is the body's reaction to infection, and it causes fatigue and chronic pain, sometimes leading to amputations, organ failure and death.

Preventing Rotten Teeth

A regular daily oral care routine helps prevent tooth decay from returning and may prevent it from happening in the first place! Brush your teeth in the morning and evening and floss them once per day to remove plaque. Rinse twice per day with a mouthwash like Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield, which kills 99 percent of germs on contact and significantly reduces plaque. Visit your dentist for a professional cleaning and checkup every six months to nip any further problems in the bud.

Rotten teeth aren't a problem that you can put off attending to. As time goes by, the decay will become worse and can lead to a serious infection. See a dentist if your teeth are badly decayed, and be sure to get the treatment you need.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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