Dental caries in a molar

Dental caries in a molar

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Credit: DR ARMEN TARANYAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dental caries. Close up of dental caries (blackened cavity) in a lower molar tooth. Dental caries is the decay and crumbling of the teeth. It is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a substance which covers the surface of unclean teeth. The bacteria break down sugar in the mouth, producing an acid which progressively destroys the teeth. A filling may be used to repair a decayed tooth, but in severe cases, root canal surgery or tooth extraction may be required.

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