The process of tooth decay starts with plaque and bacteria building up on the tooth structure, creating acid. This acid begins to erode the hard protected coating on the tooth, also known as the enamel. Once the acid breaks through the outside layer of the enamel, the decay spreads faster due to the inside layer, known as the dentin, not being as hard as the enamel. If the decay is allowed to expand through the dentin, it can penetrate the interior of the root requiring additional procedures to remove the infected tissue. A range of external damage can result from this decay as well, such as cracking or fractures in the tooth, potentially progressing beneath the gum line and along the root structure. This could ultimately result in the loss of the tooth. It is important to detect and address issues of tooth decay early in the process, to prevent these unpleasant and expensive consequences. Regular visits to your dentist, good oral hygiene, and a proactive attitude towards your dental health will help minimize this risk.