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  • Dr. Barry Yu



Tooth decay, also known as dental decay or cavities, often starts silently, without causing immediate pain. Recognizing and addressing decay at this stage, when a simple filling suffices, can prevent more invasive procedures like root canals or extractions.

The Silent Progression of Tooth Decay

Initially painless, tooth decay quietly erodes tooth enamel through bacterial acids. If left untreated, decay can not only penetrate deeper into the affected tooth but can also spread to adjacent teeth. Detecting and treating decay in these early stages can prevent its spread and preserve the natural tooth structure.


The Domino Effect: Spreading Dental Decay

Neglected decay doesn't stay confined to one tooth. Bacteria causing decay can spread to neighboring teeth, initiating the same erosion process. Early intervention not only saves the affected tooth but prevents the potential spread of decay to nearby teeth.

Preventing Tooth Decay: Actionable Measures

Preventing tooth decay involves proactive steps:


Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine visits to your dentist help detect decay early and prevent its progression.

Consistent Oral Hygiene: Brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using mouthwash help remove plaque and prevent decay.

Balanced Diet: Limit sugary and acidic foods; opt for a balanced diet rich in calcium and phosphates to strengthen tooth enamel.

The Cost of Neglecting Early Treatment

Delaying treatment until pain occurs can result in more severe decay, necessitating complex procedures like root canals or even tooth extractions. Once decay progresses, lost tooth structure can be repaired through restorations like fillings, but the original strength of the tooth cannot be fully restored.

Preserving Tooth Structure: A Vital Goal


Lost tooth structure due to decay can be repaired through restorations like fillings. However, these repairs don't match the strength of the original tooth. Prevention and early treatment are crucial to retain the natural strength and integrity of the tooth and prevent the spread of decay to neighboring teeth.

Penn Pacific Dental Center's Commitment

At Penn Pacific Dental Center, we prioritize early intervention and preventive care to stop decay from spreading. Our goal is to address tooth decay in its painless stages, preserving your natural tooth structure and minimizing the need for extensive procedures.

Understanding that lost tooth structure is irreplaceable drives our commitment to proactive dental care. By addressing decay early and preventing its spread, we ensure that your smile remains strong and healthy for years to come.

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About Authors


Graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis (U.S.A.), major in biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Yu has further obtained his dental degree (Doctor of Dental Medicine) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (U.S.A.).  Dr. Yu is qualified to practice in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and has over 10 years of practicing experience in the US before starting both practices in Hong Kong and Singapore.


Dr. Chrissie Lam graduated from University of California, Berkeley (U.S.A.) with a bachelor degree in Nutritional Science before earning her doctorate degree in dentistry from University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry (U.S.A.). In her 10 years of practice she took care of her patients, both in U.S.A. and Singapore with her warm demeanor and excellent clinical skills. 

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