Tooth Decay

Southern California Center for Oral & Facial Surgery -  - Board-Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Southern California Center for Oral & Facial Surgery

Board-Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon located in Tarzana, CA

Tooth decay occurs when the outer, hard layer of your tooth erodes due to bacteria. At the Southern California Center for Oral & Facial Surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Jay Reznick can help you treat tooth decay at all levels. Whether you can still save a tooth or need a full restoration, residents of Tarzana, California and the surrounding area can trust him to provide expert care. If you suspect tooth decay, contact his office or use the online booking tool to make an appointment and get immediate treatment.

Tooth Decay Q & A

What causes tooth decay?

When plaque, a sticky bacterial film, forms on your teeth, it attacks your tooth enamel. The bacteria produce acids that cause the breakdown of your teeth, forming cavities.

Cavities aren’t just a problem for children; adults can get them too. If you don't address your cavities, the decay can infiltrate the tooth root and spread to other teeth.

As your gums recede with age and gum disease, your roots are more vulnerable to exposure to the plaque. The cementum that covers your tooth roots is softer than enamel, so when plaque infiltrates it, decay can happen faster.

As you age, any fillings you had done in your youth tend to crack and leak, which also leads to decay. People over 50 commonly experience tooth-root decay.

How serious is tooth decay?

When caught in its early stages, fillings can correct tooth decay. However, a severe decay that infiltrates the root of the tooth may need a root canal or, if it can’t be saved, extraction.

Tooth decay can also lead to abscesses: painful pockets of pus that often develop in response to tooth decay that spreads. Abscesses require treatment with antibiotics and sometimes surgical drainage.

How do I prevent tooth decay?

Good oral hygiene habits go a long way in preventing tooth decay. These include:

  • Brushing two times daily and using fluoride
  • Flossing regularly
  • Limiting sugary snacks and maintaining a healthy diet
  • Undergoing professional cleanings and oral exams regularly

What happens if a tooth succumbs to decay?

If a tooth is severely decayed, Dr. Reznick may recommend extraction. During an extraction, he numbs the area and removes the tooth.

Dr. Reznick and his staff provide instructions to care for your mouth following the procedure. You may need to limit your diet for a few days and take over-the-counter or prescription medications for pain. Some bleeding and possible swelling can also occur.

Your mouth heals by forming a blood clot over where the tooth was. Avoid using a straw or rinsing too aggressively for the first 24 hours after the extraction as this can loosen the blood clot.

If you have tooth pain or visible signs of decay, seek treatment and prevent serious complications: Call the Southern California Center for Oral & Facial Surgery for an appointment today.