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J Biomed Mater Res. 2002;63(3):342-5.

Ultimate tensile strength of dentin: Evidence for a damage mechanics approach to dentin failure.

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Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, University of California at San Francisco, 94943, USA.


Dentin structure and properties are known to vary with orientation and location. The present study explored the variation in the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of dentin with location in the tooth. Hourglass specimens were prepared from dentin located in the center, under cusps, and in the cervical regions of human molar teeth. These were tested in tension at various distances from the pulp. Median tensile strengths ranged from 44.4 MPa in the inner dentin near the pulp, to 97.8 MPa near the dentino-enamel junction (DEJ). This increase in the median UTS with distance from the pulp to the DEJ was statistically significant (P <.001). Of particular importance was the observation that the UTS measurements followed a Weibull probability distribution, with a Weibull modulus of about 4.5. The Weibull behavior of the UTS data strongly suggests that the large variances in fracture strength data result from a distribution of preexisting defects in the dentin. These findings justify a damage-mechanics approach to studies of dentin failure.

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