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J Dent Res. 1987 Jan;66(1):78-83.

Morphometric analysis of teeth with inflamed pulp.


The most common method of evaluating pulp tissue reactions to injury is by a qualitative assessment of pulp tissue alterations. This evaluation method is subjective and difficult to quantify; stereological methods are more suitable, for they can quantify important tissue components, and so more objectively describe pulp tissues. This study compares a morphometric and a descriptive method of classification for pulp tissue analysis by using 15 teeth with inflamed pulp tissue, and 12 teeth experimentally pulp-capped with calcium hydroxide. Morphometric analysis allowed for volumes of remaining dentin, pulp tissue, inflamed pulp tissue, and reparative dentin to be calculated. In addition, volume densities of polymorphonuclear and mononuclear leukocytes, odontoblasts, fibroblasts, erythrocytes, vessels, and residual tissue were calculated for comparison among different experimental teeth. The morphometric method provided a quantitative description of tissue reactions. The descriptive method of classification was adequate when inflamed tissue subjacent to the cavity was evaluated, but was less precise than the morphometric method in describing reactions deeper in the tissue. The descriptive method could delineate the amounts and types of inflammatory cells only in non-quantified terms, while the morphometric method could quantify and locate them. It also yielded a quantified evaluation of the healing sequence of experimentally pulp-capped teeth. In conclusion, a morphometric method can yield more quantitative data on pulp tissue reactions than can a descriptive method of classification.

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