The Stages of Tooth Decay

The Stages of Tooth Decay

Not eating a balanced diet can result in numerous dental problems. Specific foods can erode your teeth, leaving them exposed to cavities. If these holes are not filled, tooth decay will start to damage the enamel as it progresses.

This article will explain the stages of tooth decay and how each can cause severe and sometimes long-lasting damage to oral health.

Tooth Decay Explained

When you consume foods high in starch and sugar, like fruits, candy, bread, or milk, they cling to your teeth. As a result, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth will transform these foods into acid.

That leads to plaque build-up, which can eat away at your enamel since it is acidic. When this happens, small holes appear in your teeth, called cavities.

The Symptoms of Tooth Decay

There are many symptoms of tooth decay which include:

  • Sensitivity or pain when you consume hot, cold, or sweet foods/beverages
  • Dark spots on your teeth
  • Pain when any pressure is applied to your teeth, for example, when biting
  • Cavities

The Different Stages of Tooth Decay

There are various stages of tooth decay, namely five. Each stage is worse than the next, and trying and catching it early is crucial, as treating the worse it gets is harder.

Stage 1: Demineralization

that is the stage where your enamel is compromised. Enamel consists mainly of minerals; when the tooth is attacked by plaque, it loses its minerals.  

That will result in white spots on your teeth when you know tooth decay is starting.  

Stage 2: Enamel Decay

The Different Stages of Tooth Decay

If you don’t seek treatment immediately, your enamel will deteriorate, and those white spots will darken. That is the second stage of tooth decay, resulting in cavities forming.

Treatment for this stage is placing a filling to prevent these cavities from growing further. This technique involves removing decay and filling the hole with fillings made of:

  • Resin
  • Gold
  • Silver amalgam
  • Ceramic

Stage 3: Dentin Decay

Dentin is the tissue found underneath your enamel. It is a softer form of enamel and is more susceptible to acid. That results in tooth decay spreading and causing damage much faster.

 There are tubes found in dentin connected to nerves in your teeth. So when tooth decay starts to attack your dentin, you will feel sensitivity or pain. That will predominantly be known when consuming hot or cold foods or beverages. 

At AstaDent Clinic Turkey, we have highly skilled Dentists in the Dental treatments field. In addition to the experienced medical crew, the clinic is equipped with advanced technologies. Click here to get an appointment for a free consultation.

Stage 4: Damaged Pulp

Underneath your dentin lays the pulp. The pulp accommodates nerves and blood vessels that sustain and provides feeling to your teeth.  

When tooth decay is allowed to develop in your pulp, it will swell your teeth. Since your teeth are not flexible, the pressure caused by the swelling will start to increase, which causes horrible pain.  

If left untreated, it could result in pulp death or pulp necrosis. When this happens, you will encounter the following symptoms:

  • Foul odor coming from the affected tooth
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • The color of your tooth will change from white to grey and eventually to black.

The treatment for this stage is a root canal which involves cleaning out the damaged pulp and filling the cavity with a material of your choice. Once this is done, a crown must be placed over the tooth for protection and added strength.

Stage 5: Abscess

Abscess teeth

As tooth decay spreads into the pulp, it becomes more susceptible to bacteria. If bacteria are allowed to enter your pulp, it can cause an infection.  

Severe infection can result in a pocket of pus that develops at the bottom of your tooth, called an abscess. That will cause horrendous pain, which can spread to the jaw. Other signs that may arise are swelling of the:

  • Gums
  • Face 
  • Jaw

Lymph nodes in your neck You could also break out in a fever. 

If left untreated, the infection can creep down into your jawbone and other face and neck areas. If this happens, your dentist will likely need to extract the affected tooth.

Read More: Tooth Decay 5 Different Stages, Risks, and How To Avoid

Tooth Decay in Children

Unfortunately, tooth decay is a severe issue in children. It is more commonly found in children than adults. That is because milk teeth have thinner, more sensitive enamel than permanent teeth.  

Like adults, tooth decay breaks down the sugars in their mouths and turns them into acid, damaging the teeth.

Ensure that your children do not consume too much sugar to avoid this. For example, force them to brush their teeth once in the morning and before bedtime, for two minutes each.

You might think it does not matter as they will lose their baby teeth, but this is not true. Children need their milk teeth to chew and speak properly.  

They also create a space for your permanent teeth to grow and, if lost early, can result in decay and their permanent teeth not developing correctly.  


Treatments will need to be adjusted for the stage of tooth decay that needs to be resolved. 

Here are the different treatment methods for their specific stages:

  • Demineralization

That is the earliest stage of tooth decay and, if found early, can be reversed before more severe damage is done. 

Treatment for this stage is fluoride. That is an in-office treatment with fluoride gel or varnish applied to your teeth. That will strengthen your enamel, making it less susceptible to plaque-related acids.

Because fluoride is essential in maintaining strong enamel, most countries add it to tap water. You can also find it in certain kinds of toothpaste.

  • Enamel Decay

That is when cavities start to form and are treated with fillings. Depending on your specific needs, the material used to fill your cavity can be discussed with your dentist.

Your dentist will clear any decay during this procedure with a specialized tool. The hole is then filled with the material of your choice.  

Most people will choose a filling that matches the color of their natural teeth. Your dentist will then buffer your tooth to ensure a smooth look and feel. 

  • Dentin Decay

When it comes to this stage, it must be treated early. If caught early, this stage is treated with a filling as well. You might need a crown if tooth decay has been left to develop. 

A crown covers the area of your tooth that sticks out of your gums. The dentist will remove the decay before the crown is placed. The downside is that some healthy tissue might have to be removed to ensure the crown fits correctly.  

  • Pulp Damage

When tooth decay has been left to wreak havoc and enter the pulp, you might need to perform a root canal. Your dentist will extract the damaged pulp, and the cavity will be cleaned and filled. A crown will be placed for protection and additional strength.  

  • Abscess

A root canal will also be performed if you have an abscess. Your dentist will remove the infection and seal your tooth during your root canal. In more severe circumstances, the tooth may need to be extracted.  

In some cases, before a root canal is performed, your dentist might prescribe some antibiotics to treat the abscess. These medicines can kill bacteria.  

At AstaDent Clinic Turkey, we have highly skilled Dentists in the Dental treatments field. In addition to the experienced medical crew, the clinic is equipped with advanced technologies. Click here to get an appointment for a free consultation.

Prevention of Tooth Decay

Prevention of Tooth Decay

Practicing good oral hygiene is the leading way to prevent tooth decay. Here is a list of ways to ensure you prevent tooth decay:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and brush twice daily.
  • If you frequently consume foods and drinks with high levels of starch or sugar, try to rinse, floss, or brush your teeth immediately afterward.
  • Use different hygiene products like interdental cleaners and floss to eliminate as many food particles as possible. 
  • Use a good fluoride mouthwash twice daily to kill plaque.
  • Would you mind consulting your dentist about applying sealants to your molars to protect them from decay?
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride.
  • Go for professional cleanings once every six months.

Try to avoid eating foods that have a lot of sugar or starch in them, like:

  • Acidic carbonated drinks
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Caramel
  • Fruits high in sugar
  • Donuts
  • Most desserts

Final Thoughts

Tooth decay results from bacteria in your mouth transforming leftover food particles into acidic plaque. This plaque eats through your enamel, causing much damage to your teeth.  

There are five levels of tooth decay; if you catch it early, it can be reversed. However, if left to cause havoc, it can result in tooth loss.

Treatment will depend on what stage of tooth decay you have. Treatment may include applying fluoride to your teeth, fillings, crowns, root canals, and tooth extraction.

There are ways you can prevent tooth decay. The best way is to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and flossing after every meal and snack.

Contact Us Today

Lastly, if you need to know more about this procedure or have more questions about other procedures, we offer a free consultation on WhatsApp or Fill out The Form Here.

AstaDent Clinic Turkey offers high-quality, specialized, and affordable dental treatment services. Visit Our General Dentistry Department, or go back to the Blog.

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