rotten teeth
Treatment for rotten teeth aims to limit further decay. When a tooth is badly decayed, the dentist may extract it and replace it with an implant.

Although there is no absolute cure to fix rotten teeth, there are treatment options available to limit further decay. However, treatment options may depend on the severity of the cavity. Rotten teeth may cause concern because the infection can spread to adjacent teeth and the gums, besides causing significant pain and discomfort.

Here are some ways to fix a rotten tooth in its early stages:

Diet

  • A well-balanced diet with vitamins and minerals is important to heal rotting teeth.
  • Several studies also recommend limiting sugars and starch in your diet, especially if you have tooth or gum problems.
  • Doctors recommend that diet must have adequate vitamins A, D, E and K as part of nutrition to help heal the tooth.
  • Hydrating is also important since a dry mouth allows plaque retention in the mouth.
  • Several studies also recommend limiting phytic acid in the diet. Phytic acid or phytate is known for its ability to reduce the absorption of several nutrients in the body.
  • It is usually recommended to increase the intake of mineral-rich meats and vegetables, bone broth and healthy fats.
  • Diet rich in gelatin and magnesium may also help heal rotten teeth.
  • Fish oil, olive oil and seafood are high in fat-soluble vitamins, so it is good to include these in your diet during tooth healing.

Maintain oral hygiene

  • Brush your teeth two times a day and floss your teeth at least once a day. The mindful practice of oral hygiene every day may maintain good oral health and help prevent further decay.
  • Consistently flossing your teeth, brushing tiny circular motions and rinsing with a quality mouth rinse help remove unwanted food and bacteria from the teeth and gums.

The best treatment for a rotten tooth depends on the time of diagnosis or if a cavity has formed. Doctors usually recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste or getting fluoride treatments during the early stages. Visiting your doctor or dentist frequently (at least every three months) may help diagnose the rotten tooth early.

If the decay has eroded through the enamel, the doctor may recommend:

  • Filling the cavity: The doctor may remove the decay and use the material to fill the defect and restore the original shape of the tooth.
  • Putting a crown on the tooth: In case of severe decay or if your tooth is damaged, a crown or cap is usually recommended, which is a manmade replacement for the visible part of the tooth above the gum line.
  • Using a bridge or an implant: After the root canal therapy, if the root canal gets infected, the doctor may extract the tooth and replace it with a bridge or implant.

What are the signs and symptoms of rotten teeth?

One of the most obvious signs of a rotten tooth is visible pits or holes in your enamel, as well as black, brown or white staining on the surface of the tooth.

Symptoms of a rotten tooth may include:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity
  • Mild to sharp pain when exposed to heat or cold
  • Pain when you chew something
  • Spots on the tooth that may be grey, brown or black
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth alterations
  • If the situation is severe, swelling and pus may also be seen

Apart from these, patients with a rotten tooth may suffer from other complications, which may include:

  • Gum infection and inflammation (gingivitis)
  • Unable to enjoy food
  • Weakened immune system
  • Decreased energy
  • Sepsis (severe and rare cases)
  • Meningitis

Unfortunately, many patients do not realize experiencing any tooth decay until it reaches its later stages. Since rotten teeth may affect your daily life, it is recommended to visit the dentist as soon as these symptoms start.

What are the different stages of rotten teeth?

The different stages of a rotten tooth may include:

  • Stage I
    • Your dentist identifies the first stages of decay through initial symptoms, such as pain, swelling and discoloration of teeth.
    • In this stage, dentists may apply fluoride varnish to the teeth.
    • Fluoride is the most effective treatment available to prevent and limit the spread.
    • Synthetic fluoride is used in toothpaste, which most people get their fluoride from, although small amounts of it are also added to the water supply in some areas of the country.
    • If your cavity is in its early stages, your dentist may be able to prevent further decay by applying a concentrated fluoride gel, varnish or paste to any affected teeth.
  • Stage II
    • In this stage, the decay may have worn away the enamel.
    • The dentist may remove any decayed area and then place some form of filling material in your tooth.
  • Stage III
    • In this stage, the decay may have progressed further and involved the nerves.
    • This may require a root canal treatment and filling material.
  • Stage IV

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2021
References
National Institutes of Health. The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay/more-info/tooth-decay-process

Botero C. What is Tooth Decay? Cavity Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options. Dentaly.org. https://www.dentaly.org/us/tooth-decay/

WebMD. Preventing Tooth Decay. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-decay-prevention