Mouth | Odontologie | Dental Problem (Symptom)
Dental cavities (caries) are holes in the two outer layers of a tooth called the enamel and the dentin usually caused by bacteria in the mouth and from poor oral hygiene. The enamel is the outermost white hard surface and the dentin is the yellow layer just beneath enamel. Both layers serve to protect the inner living tooth tissue called the pulp, where blood vessels and nerves reside. Dental cavities are common, affecting over 90% of the population. Small cavities may not cause pain, and may be unnoticed by the patient. The larger cavities can collect food, and the inner pulp of the affected tooth can become irritated by bacterial toxins, foods that are cold, hot, sour, or sweet-causing toothache.
The presentation of caries is highly variable. However the risk factors and stages of development are similar. Initially it may appear as a small chalky area (smooth surface caries), which may eventually develop into a large cavitations. Sometimes caries may be directly visible .
A person experiencing caries may not be aware of the disease. Before the cavity forms, the process is reversible, but once a cavity forms, the lost tooth structure cannot be regenerated. A lesion that appears brown and shiny suggests dental caries were once present but the demineralization process has stopped, leaving a stain. A brown spot that is dull in appearance is probably a sign of active caries. Symptoms may consist of: tooth pain, jaw pain, facial pain, cold or heat intolerance of teeth, gum swelling.