Tooth Decay (Dental Caries)
Dental decay (caries) is the infection of dental hard tissues by bacteria. These bacteria are able stick to the tooth surface and produce acidic compounds from carbohydrates. This acid enables the bacteria to break down the hard tissues and penetrate the tooth. Eventually the bacteria can reach the pulp (nerve) of the tooth, travel down the root canal and enter the bone at the end of the root. This leads to infection of the bone and the development of an abscess. This infection can then spread through the bone. If left untreated serious complications can develop.