Conclusion

Dental caries is a multifactorial, infectious disease affecting a significant percentage of the population. It is more accurate to consider caries as caused, not by an infectious agent, but by a shift in oral microflora to caries-causing types in response to acidity resulting from the metabolism of sugars. The development of caries is dependent on the interaction of four primary factors. These are a host (tooth surface), a substrate (food), the presence of oral bacteria, and time. Caries will not develop if any of these four primary factors are not present. Understanding the etiology and pathways of progression of dental caries will enable the profession to strive toward early intervention and, hopefully, prevention (Figures 7-11).

Figure 7. Caries Lesion Initiation and Progression Pellicle Formation.

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Figure 8. Caries Lesion Initiation and Progression Biofilm Formation.

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Figure 9. Caries Lesion Initiation and Progression Dietary Sugars Diffuse into the Biofilm.

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Figure 10. Caries Lesion Initiation and Progression Fermentation Produces Acid Leading to Demineralization.

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Figure 11. Caries Lesion Initiation and Progression Demineralization and Remineralization.

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Video 3. Caries Lesion Initiation and Progression (Animation).
No voiceover for this video.