A rotten tooth can cause a lot of pain, and if your rotten teeth are visible, you might even feel embarrassed. Fortunately, plenty of options exist for fixing rotten teeth. If you are experiencing tooth decay, make an appointment to see your dentist immediately for an examination and treatment. While you wait for your appointment, learn more about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention for rotten teeth.
Rotten Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Tooth Decay
Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications
What Causes Rotten Teeth?
"Rotten" is simply another way to describe teeth that are badly decayed. Tooth decay often occurs from eating sugary or starchy foods and not following a good oral care routine. If your teeth are not regularly cleaned, bacteria create a layer of sticky plaque that builds up on your tooth and gums. These bacteria feed on the sugars and starches in the foods you eat to release acids that erode your tooth enamel. When the enamel wears away, that same bacteria and plaque can attack the softer dentin inside the tooth and eventually the pulp at the tooth's center. In the final stage of tooth decay, an excruciating infection develops in the pulp that can even move into other areas of the body.
What Are the Early Signs of Rotting Teeth?
A cavity can appear on your teeth with no signs or symptoms, so it's essential to see your dentist regularly to check on your oral health and catch tooth decay in the earliest stages. However, as the decay worsens, you might recognize some of these rotten tooth symptoms:
- Toothache or pain when biting
- Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods
- Brown, black, yellow, or white spots on the tooth
- Bad breath or unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Gum swelling
If you recognize any of these rotten tooth symptoms, schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist. Don't delay! The earlier you treat tooth decay, the better chances you can save your tooth.
How Do You Fix Rotten Teeth?
What do you do about rotten teeth? Rotten teeth treatment depends on the stage of tooth decay. If you're dealing with a few cavities, your dentist can stop further damage with some fillings. However, if the infection has reached the pulp, you might require a root canal to restore the tooth. When the cavity becomes so large, it weakens the tooth structure; the dentist can create a crown to protect the rest of the tooth.
Sometimes your dentist cannot save badly rotten teeth and must extract them. Your dentist can replace the rotten tooth with an implant or dental bridge. Or, if you need an entire set of upper or lower teeth, dentures are also an option.
Your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of each treatment plan before you move forward but don't wait too long. An untreated tooth infection can quickly become a tooth abscess. This infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and bone and even trigger sepsis, which leads to severe conditions like tissue damage, organ failure, and even death.
How Do You Prevent Rotten Teeth?
The good news is you can easily prevent all of this with proper oral hygiene. Remember these basic steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time with fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between your teeth daily with an interdental device such as floss or a water flosser.
- See your dentist regularly for oral exams to catch tooth decay early.
With these few steps, you can erase all worries about your teeth rotting out. However, if you already feel rotten teeth pain or see the signs of rotting teeth, visit your dentist today. Your dental professional can address your tooth decay and take the necessary steps to save your smile and protect your overall health.
Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider.