It is well known that tooth decay is nearly completely preventable if proper oral hygiene regimes are followed.  It is caused by a bacterium that builds up in the form of plaque on the incisors and in the mouth.  This plaque then promotes the growth of more bacteria until finally the enamel is worn away by cavities or small incisions in the incisor.  Once the enamel is breached, the dentin and pulp are at risk as is the root.

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Tooth decay can be severe enough to warrant an extraction or mild enough that a filling can take care of the problem.  The treatment depends on the level of destruction that has taken place within the incisor and how deeply it has gone.  If it has reached the root, then a root canal may save the incisor.  If it is in the dentin or pulp, it may be necessary to follow the root canal with a crown.

Tooth decay can be avoided by making sure that the patient is properly brushing their teeth after each meal and for the recommended amount of time that is determined by the American Dental Association, or the ADA.  It is also recommended that a patient flosses regularly to loosen all of the particles that bond together to form plaque.

Rinses and mouth washes are also excellent tools in the fight against tooth decay.  These can be over the counter rinses or prescribed by the dentist.  Of course, regular checkups and examinations by the dentist is the number one way to find these cavities before they become major issues that require root canals or extractions.  A healthy diet and lifestyle can also help to avoid these types of problems.