symptoms and treatment for rotten teeth - colgate au
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Rotten Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment

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Rotten teeth, also known as teeth with cavities, are painful, and they're also embarrassing if they're at the front of your mouth and can be seen by everyone. However, fixing this problem might not be as difficult or expensive as you think. If your teeth are badly decayed, make an appointment to see your dentist for a proper assessment and to discuss your options. Don't delay, because the consequences can be very serious.

Causes of rotten teeth

"Rotten" is another way to describe teeth that are badly decayed and have cavities. Tooth decay is often the result of eating sugary or starchy foods and not following a good oral care routine. If the teeth aren't cleaned regularly, bacteria in the mouth create a layer of sticky plaque that builds up on the tooth surface. When these bacteria process sugar from the diet acid is produced that may dissolve the tooth enamel. Once the enamel is broken down, plaque bacteria attack the softer dentin inside the tooth and then the pulp at the tooth's centre. At the final stage of tooth decay, an extremely painful infection in the pulp develops that can infect the bone around the tooth and the gum tissue.

Symptoms of rotten teeth

The Health Direct Australia lists the symptoms of tooth decay as toothache, tooth sensitivity and pain when biting down. You may also be able to see white spots on the teeth, in the intial stages of decay, or as decay progresses, holes (decayed lesions) in the teeth, and they could be stained brown or black. When the decay is severe, it can interfere with your daily life. If an infection has started, you might see swelling and pus around the tooth, and the pain may be so bad that it interferes with your ability to eat and sleep. Rotten teeth can also break or become loose.

Treatments for rotten teeth

Rotten teeth can quickly become infected, which can turn dangerous. If the decay hasn't spread to the tooth pulp, your dentist can fill any cavities that are affecting the teeth. If the pulp is infected, your dentist will take an X-ray of the tooth and perform a root canal treatment to clean out the infection in the pulp of the tooth, fill the tooth with a sterile dental material and possibly put a crown on the tooth. When the cavity is so large that it weakens the tooth structure, dentists often recommend that a crown be made to protect the tooth once the infection is eliminated.

Alternatively, if a tooth is so badly decayed that it can't be saved and must be extracted, your dentist can replace it with a dental implant, partial denture or a dental bridge. An entire set of upper or lower teeth can be replaced with implants or full dentures. Your dentist can discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option, but don't wait too long to book an appointment if your teeth are badly decayed. 

Preventing rotten teeth

A regular daily oral care routine helps prevent tooth decay from returning and may prevent it from happening in the first place. Brush your teeth in the morning and evening with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once per day to remove plaque and food debris. Rinsing with an fluoride mouthwash may also be helpful, to strengthen your teeth against decay. Visit your dentist for a professional clean and check-up every six months and to diagnose any further dental issues.

Rotten teeth aren't a problem that you can put off attending to. As time goes by, the decay will become worse if untreated and can lead to a serious infection in the body. See a dentist if your teeth are badly decayed, and be sure to get the treatment you need to maintain a healthy mouth.


This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.