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Tooth Decay begins when the protein of your saliva combines with the sugars and carbohydrates of food particles left on and between your teeth. This combination creates plaque, which eats away at the hard enamel shell around your tooth. Left unchecked, a hole will be created in the enamel and a cavity will rapidly form in the softer dentin which lies under the enamel. If the cavity is caught in time, usually a Filling will correct the problem. Larger cavities may require an Inlay or Onlay, or a Crown. However, if nothing is done and the decay spreads, the sensitive pulp (nerve) may become involved, often causing an Abscess, and Root Canal Therapy or Extraction may be required.

x-ray with cavity
x-ray (previous)
Cavities that start between the teeth can't be seen, but they can be detected on an x-ray.

No cavity on previous x-ray

In the x-ray above (on the left), we showed you where a cavity has formed since the last x-ray was taken. There is another cavity shown in the x-ray on the left. Can you find it? It's difficult for the untrained eye to spot. If you think you know where it is, send an e-mail to webmaster@stoffdent.com and we will tell you if you're right! (Hint: It's not the left edge of the top left tooth. That's just the edge of the frame around the x-ray).

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© Copyright -2006 Dental WebSmith, Inc. and Mark T. Stoffregen, DDS. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: The information provided within is intended to help you better understand dental conditions and procedures. It is not meant to serve as delivery of medical or dental care. If you have specific questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.

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