Tooth decay (also called caries) is one of the most common dental problems especially in younger people and the elderly.

It is caused by sugars in food or drink being used as foods by bacteria in the plaque on the teeth which produces acids as waste products. This acid softens the tooth surface and so as they grow, the bacteria invade into the tooth.

If left untreated, the decay will gradually spread further and further through the tooth eventually leading to the tooth nerve dying off or the tooth breaking.

To treat decay in a tooth, a dentist must remove the infected tooth tissue. Once this is done, a filling material is placed to restore the shape back to the original as closely as possible. There are several different materials which can be used and each has some advantages. The dentist will often discuss what would be best in each situation.

The more decay there was, the larger the filling needs to be and consequently, the greater the risk of post-operative sensitivity or other problems.

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