ISSN 2398-2969      

Teeth: caries

icanis
Contributor(s):

Mark Thompson

Synonym(s): Dental caries, decay


Introduction

  • Organic decay of the dentine of a tooth following inorganic demineralization of enamel.
  • Incidence: 40% - underdiagnosed because of difficulty of detection in conscious patient. Accounts for 10% of tooth loss.
  • Cause: plaque Teeth: calculus.
  • Signs: dysphagia, salivation, pain, behavioral changes.
  • Diagnosis: visualization of cavities, radiography.
  • Treatment: fill cavity with specialist dental materials +/- endodontic treatment or extraction.
  • Prognosis: generally good - dependent on size and position of cavity and early treatment.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Chemicals released from bacteria (especiallyStreptococcus mutans Streptococcus spp ) in plaque accumulations.

Specific

  • Malalignment of teeth causing plaque build-up.
  • Fractures/damage to teeth exposing dentine.
  • Exposed root structure (no enamel covering).
  • Increased dietary refined carbohydrate level.
  • Bad oral hygiene → accumulation of plaque.
  • Food stagnation between teeth (uncommon, except posterior teeth).

Pathophysiology

  • Organic decay of the dentine of a tooth following inorganic demineralization of enamel.
  • Poor oral hygiene → accumulation of food debris on teeth surface → microorganism colonization (bacterial plaque) → break down of refined carbohydrates, eg glucose, lactose → 'plaque acid' release → demineralization of enamel → exposed dentine → rapid organic decay = caries → pain.
  • Pulp may be exposed → acute pain → pulpitis → pulp necrosis → periapical infection.
  • Undermined enamel of teeth may fracture Dental fracture.

Timecourse

  • Enamel demineralization is a slow process.
  • Dentine decay is rapid.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hale F A (1998) Dental caries in the dog. J Vet Dent 15 (2), 79-83 PubMed.

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