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pl. caries [L. caries, rottenness]
Gradual decay and disintegration of soft or bony tissue or of a tooth. If the decay progresses, the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed and an abscess forms, e.g., chronic abscess, tuberculosis, and bacterial invasion of teeth. In caries, the bone disintegrates by pieces, whereas in necrosis, large masses of bone are involved.
SYN: SEE: dental cavity
carious (kar′ē-ŭs ) (ker′ē-ŭs), adj.