Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Oral Biol. 2001 May;46(5):471-6.

Spatial distribution of vital and dead microorganisms in dental biofilms.

Author information

Department of Periodontology and Conservative Dentistry, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Arch Oral Biol 2001 Aug;46(8):780. Artweiler NB [corrected to Arweiler NB].


To examine the spatial structure of dental biofilms a vital fluorescence technique was combined with optical analysis of sections in a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM). Enamel slaps were worn in intraoral splints by three volunteers for five days to accumulate smooth-surface plaque. After vital staining with fluorescein diacetate and ethidium bromide the specimens were processed for CLSM examination. Optical sections 1 microm apart were analysed in the z-axis of these dental biofilms. One of the films was 15 microm high, sparse and showed low vitality, i.e. <16%, while the others were taller (25 and 31 microm) and more vital, i.e. up to 30 and 69%, respectively. In all instances the bacterial vitality increased from the enamel surface to the central part of the plaque and decreased again in the outer parts of the biofilm. The spatial arrangement of the microorganisms in the biofilm showed voids outlined by layers of vital bacteria, which themselves were packed in layers of dead material.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center