PHOTO INSOLITE REALITE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHOTO INSOLITE REALITE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the surface of a human molar tooth (ie 1 of the large back chewing teeth) showing the early stages of dental caries (tooth decay) in the hollow of the tooth (centre of image). Caries are believed to be the result of acid-etching of the outer enamel layer; the acid is produced by bacterial action on carbohydrates present in the mouth. If unchecked the process progresses until the tooth is destroyed; the layer of dentine under the enamel is affected & finally the pulp cavity, leading to abscess formation. Treatment involves replacing decayed part with a dental filling. Magnification: X 40 at 35mm size.
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