Skip to main content
Cosmetic Dental Blog

What Happens if Tooth Decay is Left Untreated?

By 29th November 2021December 8th, 2023No Comments

Many of us take our teeth for granted. It’s not until something goes wrong that we suddenly realise we need to rush out to the dentist or upgrade our dental hygiene regime.

A cavity because of tooth decay will get worse the more you leave it without treatment. The pain can certainly be something difficult to cope with as many people have found in the past.


What is Tooth Decay?


Our teeth are quite remarkable things and, if looked after properly, should last most of our lifetimes.

The big challenge with our pearly-whites is the potential build-up of plaque – a bacteria that forms a film over the teeth which, when we eat, turns sugars into corrosive acids. It’s this reaction that can start to affect the integrity of a tooth, wearing away the enamel and causing problems such as cavities and root canal problems.

Plaque gets just about everywhere. It also gathers under the gums and over time can damage roots and bones that support the teeth. The most common dental problems because of tooth decay are cavities in the teeth and gum disease.

The way to combat this potential threat is to clean our teeth at least twice a day and to pay regular visits to a dentist for a check-up (every 6 months). This generally means that problems like cavities are spotted early and can be easily remedied.


The Symptoms of Tooth Decay


Tooth decay doesn’t always cause pain, at least in the early stages. If you’re not looking after your teeth or going to see your dentist regularly, however, that decay can begin to get much worse and result in clear symptoms developing.

  • The first thing people generally notice is a toothache. This can be constant or it can be intermittent such as a sudden sharp pain that doesn’t seem to have any particular cause.
  • Tooth sensitivity is a sign of growing tooth decay. We have a lot of kinds of toothpaste nowadays that are designed to help with this sensitivity. These can often give people a false sense of security. If you are experiencing sensitivity it’s important to pay a visit to your dentist.
  • Other signs of potential tooth decay include bad breath, discoloured teeth or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  • You may also notice bleeding, especially if you are developing a condition such as gum disease.


Why You Need to Get Immediate Treatment


Tooth decay isn’t like a muscle strain or a bruise which will get better over time. Cavities or gum disease are not likely to get better by using a particular type of toothpaste, popping Nurofen pills like they’re M&Ms or using natural remedies such as oil or cloves.

The longer you leave things, the more pain you are likely to be in and the less likely your dentist can remedy things which often means the tooth will need to be removed.

If tooth decay is suspected, the easiest way to check is to give the person an x-ray so that the dentist can see what is going on inside the enamel. With early tooth decay, your dentist will recommend changing your diet and eating less sugary foods, upping your hygiene regime and may apply a gel containing fluoride to the affected tooth.

If there is a visible hole, then this can be treated by putting in a filling. When the central root has been damaged, a procedure called root canal work is carried out where the decayed material is removed but the tooth left intact. If the tooth is badly damaged, however, it may need to be removed and replaced by an implant or denture.

If you suspect that you have a problem with your teeth, it’s essential not to ignore it. A visit to Devonshire Dental early can not only help solve an issue with developing tooth decay but should help prevent things from getting worse.