PHASE 1: White Spots ~ The first stage of tooth decay involves the appearance of yellowish spots or chalky white areas on the surface of tooth due to the loss of calcium. Such tooth decay is still reversible, with proper treatment. The decaying tooth can be saved by the application of fluoride and certain minerals present in the saliva. During the initial stages of tooth decay, the condition can be easily countered.
PHASE 2: Enamel Decay ~ During this stage, the tooth enamel starts breaking below the surface layer, with the surface intact. If the decay persists, the surface of the tooth will be broken and this damage is irreversible. At this stage, your tooth needs to be cleaned and filled by your dentist.
PHASE 3: Dentin Decay ~ In the third stage, the decay progresses beyond the enamel into the dentin. At this juncture, your dentist can still restore the affected tooth with a filling. The pain levels also start intensifying along with the many stages of tooth decay. Any dental pain should be immediately noted so that the problem can be dealt with soon.
PHASE 4: Involvement Of The Pulp ~ The pulp of the tooth gets involved and infected due to the action of bacteria. Pus formation results, causing the blood vessels and nerves in the pulp to die. At this stage, root canal therapy is the only option of treatment.
PHASE 5: Abscess Formation ~ The infection reaches the root tip of the tooth. The bones surrounding the tooth also gets infected, causing severe pain. This is the final stage of the infection. You may have visible swelling on the cheeks, along the affected side.