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How does tooth decay work?
Tooth decay can come in many forms but the most common occurrence of tooth decay is when bacteria in your mouth create acid and plaque buildup that slowly eats away and erodes the hard outer layer of a tooth, called the enamel. Typically if tooth decay is left untreated, it can cause further damage such as a cavity. A cavity is when the enamel has been eaten through; the bacterium will continue to erode the tooth through the middle layer (dentin), and the center of the tooth (pulp).
The center of the tooth contains nerves and blood vessels, so when affected, the cavity that the bacteria has created can potentially irritate the gum and nerves and cause a lot of pain and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This can be a very uncomfortable situation when eating or drinking as anything that touches the exposed cavity area and nerves can trigger discomfort and ache. Overall, the more layers affected by decay, the worse the damage. If untreated, there is a significant chance that the compromised tooth will fall out. This creates room for more decay and damage to the surrounding teeth and gums while leaving a less than appealing look; a smile with missing teeth.