Cavities begin with one particular species of bacteria, called S. mutans. These spiral-shaped pathogens metabolize sugar when it is introduced into the mouth from eating sweets or fermentable carbohydrates like white bread. Acid formation is the result of the combination of S. mutans and sugar. This acid attacks tooth enamel, wearing away at your tooth’s defenses against bacteria. As cavities form, the infection spreads inward toward the inner structures of the tooth. Travelling through the microscopic tubes of the soft layer of dentin, the bacteria infect the tooth pulp.
The Dangers of Tooth Decay
The pulp center is a vital part of the tooth. Connected to the tooth roots through root canals, the pulp holds the tooth’s nerves, living tissues, and blood vessels. When infected, the damaged tooth’s nerves send pain signals to the brain. An internally infected tooth can produce toothache with chewing pressure as well as temperature sensitivity. While this is a common symptom of an infected root canal, not all tooth decay has noticeable signs.
Detecting Dental Caries Early
Because tooth decay does not guarantee warning signs, dental checkups are imperative for detecting cavities before they lead to much larger dental health issues like an abscessed tooth, or jawbone deterioration. Our Livonia dentist, Dr. James Stewart, employs innovative technology for seeking out even the smallest amounts of tooth decay present. DIAGNOdent, a cavity detection device, measures the wavelengths of healthy teeth against a tooth with suspected dental caries. This exposes even the earliest signs of cavities, so that Dr. Stewart can address tooth decay with the most conservative fillings possible and prevent further oral health problems.
Preventive Dentistry in Livonia
Our Livonia dentist, Dr. Stewart, can help you maintain optimal oral health with a dental examination. You can schedule a dental checkup by calling our Livonia dental office at (734) 425-4400. We serve patients from Novi, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Dearborn, and the surrounding areas.