Dental Caries

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Related to Caries lesion: tooth decay, Rampant caries, Smooth surface caries

dental caries

[¦dent·əl ′kar·ēz]

Dental Caries


an affection of the solid tissues of the teeth manifested by their gradual destruction (enamel, dentin, cemen-tum) and the formation of cavities.

The causes of dental caries are varied and have not been completely determined. According to the chemical-parasitic theory, it results from the mineral part of the teeth being dissolved by acids formed in the mouth during the breakdown of the carbohydrates in food; the organic portion of the teeth is subsequently decomposed by microbes. Dental caries may also develop without the action of microbes as a result of metabolic disturbances in the dental tissues. Diet is an important factor in the origin of dental caries. Dental caries was induced experimentally by giving animals food containing a large quantity of sugar. In localities where the drinking water is low in fluorine, the incidence of dental caries is particularly high. The individual enzyme peculiarities of the body, diseases, a mother’s diet during pregnancy, improper artificial feeding of infants, and rickets also affect the incidence of dental caries.

Caries generally affects the teeth of the upper jaw, especially the fifth milk and first molar teech. The carious process is usually concentrated near natural depressions on the tooth surface and on the contiguous surfaces in the neck of a tooth (region next to the gum). The disease starts with the formation of a defect in the enamel or neck part of the cementum projecting freely into the mouth. On reaching the dentin, the process spreads wide and deep, forming a carious cavity. Once started, the process does not stop but gradually progresses. The enamel loses its luster and transparency at the site of dental caries, and pigmentation and roughness appear. When the integrity of the enamel is impaired, pain is felt on eating sweet, acid, salty, hot, or cold food. Dental caries is usually chronic. Acute dental caries is generally found in young people, and it is often due to a disturbance of internal secretion.

Treatment consists in restoration of the anatomical structure and function of the tooth by filling it. The procedure involves removal of the soft dentin and formation of a suitable cavity to hold the filling.

Prevention consists in taking action to increase tooth resistance to caries (providing the body with the essential salts, chiefly calcium and phosphorus, and vitamin D) during formation and mineralization of the teeth (from the fourth to fifth month of intrauterine development to age 11 years). After the teeth erupt prevention consists in proper diet and oral hygiene.


Rukovodstvo po terapevticheskoi stomatologii.Moscow, 1967.
Pilz, W., C. Plathner, and H. Taatz. Grundlagen der Kariologie undEndodontie. Leipzig, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
The Calcivis Caries Activity Imaging System will, for the first time, allow the real-time detection and visualisation of calcium ions released by demineralising caries lesions in routine dental practice.
The fact that new caries lesions were initiated in both the populations that were caries-free and had caries at the inception of the study, implied that there were other determinants of caries occurrence which were not affected by the education intervention.
12), (13) Although these methods are easy, fast and inexpensive, they have been determined somewhat insensitive; several reports indicate that these methods are able to identify caries lesions only when the lesions have already progressed deeply into the tooth structure (enamel and dentin), and thus already require invasive restorative intervention.
There is a significant unmet need in dentistry to differentiate early caries lesions that are actively demineralising from those that are less likely to progress to cavitation.
The complexity of the bacteria-host interaction leads to the use of animal models by researchers, where caries lesions can be studied under controlled conditions.
7) However, when dental hygiene is good, small caries lesions can be remineralized.
A number of clinical measures to assess dental treatment needs were included: a) teeth that had apparently sound restorations or diagnosed as caries-free were categorised under "no dental treatment required/require primary prevention", b) teeth diagnosed with caries lesions in enamel and/ or dentine, teeth with a broken restoration or restoration with secondary caries at the margins were categorised under "require restoration", c) extracted and badly broken down teeth that could not be restored were categorised under "require extraction and/or space closure".
Professor Nigel Pitts, King's College London Dental Institute, who has collaborated on the development of the Calcivis approach, said: "Dental caries is a significant clinical and public health problem and there are important differences in the treatment requirements for active and inactive caries lesions, with consequent marked differences in costs and outcomes for the patient, dentist and third-party payer.
The effectiveness of sealants in managing caries lesions.
Fontana continued that there are techniques to measure bacterial levels both in saliva and in plaque, and means to quantify pH in plaque, as well as a variety of new technologies that are trying to help dentists detect and monitor caries lesions in a quantitative manner.
Despite a clear decline in the incidence of dental caries in most developed countries, there has been an increase in the occurrence of caries lesions on the occlusal surfaces of primary and permanent teeth [Mejare et al.