FRANCOISE SAUZE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCOISE SAUZE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dental drilling. Dentist (at left) drilling a tooth of a man who is suffering from dental decay (caries). The dentist's glasses have black magnifying glasses attached to them to allow him to do detailed work. His assistant is using a suction tube to remove fluids and fragments of tooth. Tooth decay is caused by the acids released by bacteria in plaque, a sticky mixture of food remains that builds up on teeth. Toothache occurs when the bacteria invade the living "pulp" inside the tooth. Dentists treat tooth decay by drilling away the affected area and filling the hole with a tough mercury amalgam or cement.
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