Macrophotograph of an extracted molar (male, upper, number 7), a top view showing three 20 year old amalgam fillings. The filling is a powdered alloy consisting of silver, tin, copper & zinc mixed with mercury. The decayed area is removed & the cavity lined with a white filler, protecting the base from the effects of the filling itself. The source of tooth decay (dental caries), is complex. It is linked to the build up of plaque, a mixture of saliva, bacteria & carbohydrate on the tooth's surface. Acid produced during the breakdown of carbohydrates by the bacterium Streptoccocus etches into the enamel & deeper if not treated. Magnification: X1.6 (at 35mm size).
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