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Early diagnosis of tooth decay: Why is it so important?

Once upon a time, cavities were considered an unavoidable part of childhood. Tooth decay was not uncommon, there was little available information about prevention, and even less emphasis was paid to early diagnosis.

Today, science and preventive dentistry have taught us that there are significant advantages to early detection. Seeking preventive dentistry in Plano may be your best protection against dental diseases as unnecessary as tooth decay.

The beginning of the tooth decay process is called demineralization. This process can occur in hard-to-reach areas such as the deep grooves on the biting surfaces of the back teeth. It can also occur on smooth surfaces in between the teeth and near the gum line. As the enamel demineralizes, decay can spread along the surface of the tooth. The decay also begins to spread into the underlying layers of the tooth structure. These inner layers of the tooth are much softer than the enamel, and decay can spread quickly, often invisible to the naked eye.

Decay that has spread into the soft interior of the tooth can quickly reach the nerve, or pulp, which can transmit pain and temperature sensitivity. This deep or widespread decay can also weaken the tooth, rendering it incapable of supporting normal biting and chewing pressure. At this point, root canal therapy is often indicated, and sometimes the tooth can fracture or break.

Fortunately, with early diagnosis, tooth decay can be identified, arrested, and restored. With a visual exam and dental imaging technology, your dentist can detect tooth decay even before you begin to feel the slightest twinge of sensitivity. In its very earliest stages, tooth decay can actually be stopped and reversed with diligent home care, a healthy diet, and remineralizing pastes or rinses. In the later stages, conservative fillings can be used to restore the weakened area before the decay reaches the nerve.

Early diagnosis is vitally important for the elimination of dental disease. When tooth decay is identified and treated early, the treatment is generally less invasive, less expensive, and more comfortable for the patient. If you appreciate the health benefits of preventive dentistry and early diagnosis, call our office for your appointment today.

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