caries(redirected from Early childhood caries)
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a pathological process involving the gradual destruction of bony tissue or teeth.
Caries of bony tissue is caused by degeneration or infection of bone or periosteum that results in necrosis of portions of bone followed by absorption or disengagement of the dead tissues and formation of a bone ulcer. Caries may also be accompanied by specific inflammatory processes (for example, tuberculosis or syphilis). The mechanism of development and clinical symptoms of caries vary with the cause, location of the focus, and so forth. In acute inflammations (for example, osteomyelitis), when a focus of suppuration arises in bone and sometimes spreads to the surrounding tissues, caries is manifested by systemic intoxication, and bone destruction progresses rapidly. In chronic and especially specific processes, caries develops slowly without severely pronounced symptoms. Treatment consists in medication (antibiotics, sulfanilamides) and specific treatment (anti-syphilitic, antituberculotic). Surgery is frequently effective.