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Biomaterials. 2005 Dec;26(36):7650-60.

A transmission electron microscopy study of mineralization in age-induced transparent dentin.

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  • 1Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Center for Electron Microscopy, Berkeley CA 94720, USA.

Abstract

It is known that fractures are more likely to occur in altered teeth, particularly following restoration or endodontic repair; consequently, it is important to understand the structure of altered forms of dentin, the most abundant tissue in the human tooth, in order to better define the increased propensity for such fractures. Transparent (or sclerotic) dentin, wherein the dentinal tubules become occluded with mineral as a natural progressive consequence of aging, is one such altered form. In the present study, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy is used to investigate the effect of aging on the mineral phase of dentin. Such studies revealed that the intertubular mineral crystallites were smaller in transparent dentin, and that the intratubular mineral (larger crystals deposited within the tubules) was chemically similar to the surrounding intertubular mineral. Exit-wave reconstructed lattice-plane images suggested that the intratubular mineral had nanometer-size grains. These observations support a "dissolution and reprecipitation" mechanism for the formation of transparent dentin.

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