Exploring the Progression of Tooth Decay

guy with a worried smileHave you ever had a cavity? If so, then chances are you may have undergone a dental filling or root canal procedure to resolve the issue, depending on its severity. Nevertheless, understanding cavities and the disease that causes them, called tooth decay, can help you prevent the reemergence of tooth decay, or at least seek treatment in time before cavities form again. Your Polk City dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong, explores the development of tooth decay, and what can happen if you don’t take prompt action to treat it.

How It Begins: Enamel Erosion

The beginning stage of tooth decay can be traced back to the plaque that clings to your teeth and gums. Certain oral bacteria, which form dental plaque when enough of them congregate, produce acid after consuming sugar and other carbohydrates from your meals. The acid depletes minerals from your teeth and weakens your teeth’s protective layer of enamel, which relies on these minerals for strength. In time, enamel erosion can render your tooth defenseless against invading, tooth decay-causing bacteria.

As Time Marches On

When left unchecked, enamel erosion and the resulting bacterial infection will develop into tooth decay, which eats away your tooth structure, forming holes called cavities. As decay progresses, it may infect your tooth’s vulnerable inner chamber—the pulp—which houses the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. If the infection reaches these tissues, then your tooth may be in danger of total destruction, and in extreme cases, extraction may be necessary to stop the infection from spreading and preserve your oral health.


Dr. Ryan Hussong is a dedicated restorative, family, and cosmetic dentist who is passionate about helping patients create and maintain beautiful, healthy smiles. Whether your smile is in the grips of a dental disease, or you simply want to learn more about protecting your family’s smiles, Dr. Hussong has the experience to help you protect, preserve, and restore your oral health. To schedule a consultation with us, call the Cornerstone Dental office today at (515) 984-6001.

2 Responses to “Exploring the Progression of Tooth Decay”

    • Ryan Hussong

      The first signs may be tooth sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures or a persistent toothache.