Stages of Dental Caries

Dental caries occur in different stages. Initially it starts with a change in pH but eventually leads to pulp damage and tooth fall.

Aparna Mir
Written by: Aparna MirUpdated at: Mar 31, 2012 13:48 IST
Stages of Dental Caries

Dental Caries

Dental caries are actually tooth cavities which cause its decay. Bacterial infection is the reason for occurrence of dental caries which finally results in tooth decay. These dental caries can damage even the gum area causing pain as well as bleeding.

Dental caries occur due to the loss of minerals from the tooth.  Microbial organisms release acids which erodes the minerals present on the tooth surface causing the tooth to fall. There are various stages of dental caries:


Stage 1

The first stage of dental caries is the appearance of yellowish spots on the surface of tooth due to loss of calcium. At this stage, tooth can be saved from further decay by the application of fluoride and minerals present in the saliva.


Stage 2

During this stage the tooth enamel starts breaking below the surface layer without causing any damage over the surface. If the decay persists,it causes breakage on the surface of the tooth and this damage is irreversible.


Stage 3

In the third stage, the pulp part near the root canals gets affected. This leads to loosening of the roots, thereby resulting in tooth fall. A tooth cavity cleaned and filled by a dentist prevents any severe infection.


Stage 4

The pulp surrounding the tooth gets softened due to the action of bacteria. This results in pus formation causing the blood vessels and nerves to die. Root canal therapy is done to treat such a condition.


Stage 5

Now the infection reaches the root tip of the tooth. The bones surrounding the tooth also get infected causing severe pain. Puss formation takes place around the bones.


Stage 6

This is the final stage of the infection. At this stage the tooth gets completely infected and it either falls off automatically, or has to be removed to stop any further infection.

Dental caries are completely avoidable by following a proper dental hygiene. By detecting the cavities early, one can prevent the falling of tooth. Root canal therapy is the only treatment to recover the tooth after stage 4. So it’s always advisable to follow a proper oral hygiene to prevent the occurrence of dental caries.


Read more articles on Tooth Decay.