Dental Caries

What is Dental Caries?

Dental caries are cavities or holes (a type of structural damage) in the teeth. Cavities are formed due to tooth decay which occurs as a result of bacterial infections. Certain types of bacteria produce acids that affect or erode the tooth enamel and the underlying layers, called dentin. This acid is produced when the sugar concentration in the food and drinks reacts with the bacteria present in the plaque. The acid produced leads to a loss of calcium and phosphate from the enamel, and this process is called demineralisation. Salivary bacterial level is related to the oral infection among a lot of children.

Strategies for effective management of this disease in early childhood includes risk management, brushing with a toothpaste that is fluoridated, and certain behavioural interventions that affect self-care exercises.


Dental caries can occur at any stage and age of life. It mainly occurs due to unhealthy eating and not taking due care of one’s teeth (like brushing twice, or gargling after alcohol consumption or smoking etc). The prominent symptoms of dental caries include:

  • Toothache.
  • Tooth sensitivity towards hot and cold.
  • Loose and bleeding gums.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Pain while chewing food.



Tooth decay or caries is a common disorder affecting majority of population around the world. Although common among children and young adults, it can affect our teeth at any age. Some of the most probable causes include:

  • Mouth plaque.
  • Cavity formation.
  • Gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • Tooth fracture or tooth abscess.
  • Frequent unhealthy snacking.


The main risk factors include:

  • Tooth Location.
  • Types of food and drink.
  • Bed time feeding and improper brushing habits.
  • Heart burns, eating disorders, and refilling of dental cavities over the years.
  • Lack of saliva and dry mouth.
  • Bleeding gums.


To prevent the occurrence of this disease, one should take care of the following things:

  • Using fluorides.
  • Reducing major consumption of sugar.
  • Applying pit and fissure sealants.

How is it diagnosed?

Right brushing habits (brushing twice daily), and regular dental check-ups help avoid occurrence of dental caries. On follow up visits, the dentist looks for caries formation inside the mouth. He e...

How is it treated?

At Medanta, treatments that help reverse tooth decay and prevent caries formation include: 


  • Silver fillings of molars and premolars

    The dentist drills the infected area of tooth and fills it with materials like silver, alloy, gold, porcelain, or composite resin. Porcelain and composite resin match natural tooth appearance, and are white in color. The filling is preferred for front teeth. But dentists consider gold, silver amalgam (alloy) as stronger and preferably use on back teeth.

  • Crowning of infected teeth

    In cases of extensive tooth decay or damaged tooth structure which may weaken the teeth, crown or caps are applied. The crown is fitted over the remainder of the tooth, after removing the decayed area.

  • Root canal treatment (making infected tooth dead)

     RCT or root canal treatment is recommended in cases where the nerve of the tooth dies due to decay or injury. The doctor drills from the center and removes the nerve including the blood vessels, and tissues (pulp), along with the decayed portions of the tooth. The root is sealed with a sealing material, and the tooth is filled and crowned.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should immediately consult a doctor, if you experience a sudden toothache, loose gums, loss of food, and tooth discoloration. All your symptoms of the disease will be treated just right with the help of our medical experts at Medanta. 

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