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Caries, also known as ”tooth decay” or “cavity”, is the most common infectious disease in the world, caused by bacteria. When a tooth is afflicted with caries, it keeps destroying tooth enamel and solid substance until the dentist removes the decaying tissue and puts in a filling to reconstruct the damaged areas. The damage can be so extensive that the tooth has to be removed. In our office we strive to diagnose caries at its earliest stage. This procedure is supported by our check-up and dental hygiene recall system. In this way we can succeed in providing timely conservative therapy, thus minimising the damage.
Caries is caused by bacteria that damage hard tooth substances (enamel and dentine). These bacteria form a bacterial coating called a biofilm on the tooth surfaces. Enamel is damaged by acids produced by the bacterial metabolism. The bacteria transform the sugar contained in food into acids, primarily lactic acid. Caries develops if the acidity is left to influence the hard tooth substance long enough. At first enamel, the hard tooth surface layer, is attacked. Once it is destroyed, the infection reaches the dentine or tooth bone, where it can cause great damage in a very short time owing to the fact that dentine is much softer than enamel. This is why it is very important to combat caries at an early stage and thus avoid extended damage to the teeth.
Caries is a bacterial infectious disease and can therefore be transmitted from one tooth to another. This is an additional reason for regular check-ups.
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