Ideally every body wants to have carious free mouth with no decay and where dental filling is not required. But this is not the case always. Because of unhealthy eating habits and practice of poor oral hygiene the teeth get caries. When the teeth get carious, to save them they have to be filled and for that filling material is required. Every material can not be used as the filling material. The material which fulfills the criteria for the ideal filling material can only be used as the filling material. Now before going into the details of filling material we should know what dental caries are and how they are formed.

Dental Caries

Dental caries is also known as the Tooth Decay. It can be defined as the infectious microbial disease of the hard structure of the tooth causing the localized dissolution and destruction of the calcified tissue of the tooth structure.

Causes of the Dental Caries

Dental caries is a multifactorial disease. For a particular tooth to get carious there should be carious prone tooth structure like the tooth having deep pits and fissures, microbes like streptococcus mutans, food particles and the time. If all these factors are present then the tooth gets carious. The microbes will ferment the food particles and produce acid. This acid will cause the dissolution and the destruction of the tooth surface causing caries. These microbes along with the food particles and other cells also form the plaque which adheres to the tooth surface causing other dental problems like gum diseases. It is also the causative factor for caries.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Caries

1.    The signs and symptoms of the carious tooth depend upon the extent of the caries and the intensity. If the caries is not very deep then initially the patient may not feel any thing but if it reaches dentine then the patient can have hot and cold sensation and if it further involves the pulp then the person can have severe pain and the swelling.

2.    Sometimes carious process is very slow. It is not acute but chronic. Patient may not feel much discomfort and the decay affects the pulp making the tooth non vital.

3.    The discoloration of the tooth is another sign of the carious tooth.

4.    Patient complains of food lodgment in that area which has a cavity. Some times the cavity is not visible. It is hidden, only x- ray can help to diagnose the cavity.

5.    If the cavity is in the anterior tooth then it gives very unaesthetic appearance.

6.    There is difficulty in chewing from that side.

7.    All these signs and symptoms points towards the presence of caries but detailed clinical examination, history and the x-ray’s are required for making the diagnosis.

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