SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Dental X-ray. Coloured dental X-ray showing roots of teeth, and a filling in a molar (top left, bright yellow). The roots anchor the teeth into the jaw bone. Each root has a root canal (dark area within each root) which carries blood vessels and nerves to the pulp cavity in the tooth crown. Dental fillings are necessary when a tooth has become chipped or decayed due to dental caries. Amalgam, a powdered alloy consisting of silver, copper, zinc, and tin mixed with mercury, is usually used for back teeth fillings. Failure to treat decay may result in infection reaching the pulp cavity, causing the tooth to die.
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