Tooth Decay

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What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acids that erode the hard outer layer of your tooth, which is called dental enamel, exposing the much softer layer of tooth material underneath that is called dentin.  As tooth decay progresses, it creates a cavity (dental caries). If not treated the decay will eventually reach the center of the tooth containing all the nerves and blood supply, causing pain and infection, and this can even lead to tooth loss.
What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is caused through the formation of plaque in your mouth, combined with eating foods high in carbohydrates and sugars. This is the sticky colorless layer that forms over your teeth throughout the day, and if you haven’t cleaned your teeth for a while, then you can often feel it only by running your tongue over your teeth.

Plaque contains bacteria that thrive on leftover foods in the mouth, producing acids and toxins as a by-product and which attack your teeth. Every time you eat the acidity in your mouth will increase, weakening the tooth enamel and increasing the risk of tooth decay. It’s even worse if you frequently snack throughout the day, as the acidity levels will remain high for more extended periods.

Preventing Tooth Decay and Treating It

Preventing tooth decay is very straightforward, and relies on proper oral hygiene at home combined with preventative dental care at Midtown Dentistry. If you are overdue for a visit, then now is a great time to book a dental exam and professional cleaning.

Professional Dental Care

Dr. Jonathan Penchas or another of our dentists will examine your teeth for any small signs of cavities or lesions that require treatment. Sometimes it might be possible to treat microscopic lesions or pits in the teeth with fluoride to help harden the tooth surfaces, but otherwise, it will be necessary to fill the tooth.

Regular check-ups are essential, even if you think your teeth are trouble-free. Often dental diseases such as tooth decay will not present any symptoms until relatively well advanced. By this stage, you are likely to need a much more substantial filling, or possibly even root canal treatment. If the cavity is too big, it might be necessary to crown the tooth. All of these options are much more expensive and time-consuming than a tiny filling.

Routine dental cleanings will remove any hardened plaque from your teeth. Plaque begins to harden within 48 hours or so, and after this has occurred, it can only be removed by a dental professional through scraping it away. Professional cleanings help to decrease the chance of tooth decay as well as gum disease. Other treatments that can help reduce the risk of tooth decay include dental sealants and fluoride treatments. Ask your dentist for further information.

Oral Care at Home

If you want to decrease your risk of tooth decay, then you need to make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and that you floss once a day. You also need to make sure your technique is the very best it can be. If you’d like some extra help, then ask our dental staff for advice on the best way to brush and floss.

Lifestyle Changes That Can Help Lessen the Risk of Tooth Decay

Even small changes can make a difference. Cutting out snacks in between meals or choosing healthier snacks such as cheese or vegetables will help decrease the amount of time your teeth are exposed to acid. If you smoke, then quitting will lower your risk as nicotine increases the ability of plaque to stick to your teeth.

Saliva is naturally cleansing, so if you suffer from dry mouth, then take action to address this problem. It can be helpful to suck sugar free candy or to use sugar-free chewing gum to help stimulate the flow of saliva and to make sure you are well hydrated.

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Why our Patients Recommend Midtown Dentistry

” They are all very welcoming, professional and knowledgeable, especially hygienist Loan Pham. I recently got braces and my  teeth look and feel great every time I leave her chair, even now with braces – she’s amazing.”

  • Tanya Bera Avatar

    Can't express in words my feelings for this wonderful dentistry awesome experience very helpful cooperative... read more

    Tanya Bera 2/19/2020
    Kelbie Celestine Avatar

    my hygienist Loan was the absolute best! she was super informative and very upbeat and... read more

    Kelbie Celestine 1/23/2020
    Meredith Eatough Avatar

    I’m a frequent flyer at the dentist and the dental hygienist Loan has made my... read more

    Meredith Eatough 1/14/2020
  • Hanh Nguyen Avatar

    Even though I hate going to the dentist, this place goes above and beyond to... read more

    Hanh Nguyen 12/31/2019
    Cameron Trainer Avatar

    They have great services and have been cleaning my teeth for about 5 years now.... read more

    Cameron Trainer 12/18/2019
    Christina Dennis Avatar

    The best dentist office I’ve ever visited. The best cleanings, very polite, never a long... read more

    Christina Dennis 12/06/2019
  • Fletcher Rose Avatar

    I've been coming here for the past 7 years. Would definitely recommend. Dentists seem to... read more

    Fletcher Rose 12/04/2019
    Brittany woodson Avatar

    Dr Patel, Ronnica, Stacey, Jennifer and the entire team we’re amazing! First off I hate... read more

    Brittany woodson 11/29/2019
    Debra Drescher Avatar

    My 88-year old mother and myself are new patients of record. On our first visit... read more

    Debra Drescher 11/15/2019
  • DANIELA RIBITA Avatar

    Very welcoming, professional and knowledgeable, especially hygienist Loan Pham. I recently got braces and she... read more

    DANIELA RIBITA 11/08/2019
    Megan Lesser Avatar

    Everyone is so kind and caring at Midtown Dentistry! Dr. Patel does a great job... read more

    Megan Lesser 11/06/2019
    Luke Avatar

    I had an amazing experience getting a new night guard and the Zoom whitening treatment.... read more

    Luke 11/01/2019
  • Every Home Avatar

    Summerwood location is awesome. Love entire staff! Dr Truong is by far best dentist I've... read more

    Every Home 10/30/2019
    Michael Johnston Avatar

    I've been going to Midtown Dentistry for 15 years. And Loan is the only hygienist... read more

    Michael Johnston 10/30/2019
    La Monica Ward Avatar

    As always, the personnel is friendly and very receptive when you arrive. My cleanings with... read more

    La Monica Ward 10/28/2019
  • Veronica Ferguson Avatar

    I recently had a new crown put in and was a little nervous! Dr. Pham... read more

    Veronica Ferguson 10/26/2019
    Carlos Curiel Avatar

    I've been coming to Midtown for a year now and every visit is awesone. Regina... read more

    Carlos Curiel 10/26/2019
    Tony Romo Avatar

    Dr. Phan, Regina, and Allison are awesome. Dr. Phan is very gentle, Allison is very... read more

    Tony Romo 10/25/2019
  • Mackenzie Taylor Avatar

    Amazing customer service! They fit me in last minute and even searched through their numerous... read more

    Mackenzie Taylor 10/25/2019
    Ashley Forrestier Avatar

    This is the best dentist's office I've ever been to. Everybody here are so... read more

    Ashley Forrestier 10/24/2019
    Brandi Williams Avatar

    At Midtown Dentistry -everyone is top notch friendly, skilled and professional!!!!!! Dr. Patel... read more

    Brandi Williams 10/24/2019
  • Gina Pavon Avatar

    Always a great experience to see Loan. We have been going to her for many,... read more

    Gina Pavon 10/24/2019
    Amanda Garcia Avatar

    Definitely recommend this office! Very professional, polite and they work hard to build a relationship... read more

    Amanda Garcia 10/21/2019
    Jen Deale Avatar

    Loan is the best hygienist. I drive all the way from Katy just to have... read more

    Jen Deale 10/20/2019
  • Caitlin Uyemura Avatar

    I’ve been going to Midtown Dentistry for a couple of years and have always had... read more

    Caitlin Uyemura 10/19/2019
    Luiza Browning Avatar

    I had a fantastic experience at the downtown location. Dr Patel is very nice... read more

    Luiza Browning 10/18/2019
    Lee Cordova Avatar

    2 days post op on tooth extraction and I am glad I stuck with Dr.... read more

    Lee Cordova 10/18/2019
  • Tirsa Garrido Avatar

    I hadn’t been able to get to the dentist in about a year so was... read more

    Tirsa Garrido 10/18/2019
    Ann Wooten Avatar

    I recently moved to the area and could not be happier with my new dentist!... read more

    Ann Wooten 10/18/2019
    Daphne Hernandez Avatar

    Anna is a great hygienist. I have been working with her for the past 1... read more

    Daphne Hernandez 10/17/2019
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