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J Dent Res. 2006 Apr;85(4):359-63.

Enamel demineralization in primary and permanent teeth.

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Department of Chemistry, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, NY 14260, USA.


Although enamel demineralization is important for our understanding of caries formation, no consensus has been reached regarding the possible differences in susceptibility of primary and permanent enamel. We used the constant composition (CC) technique to investigate the acid-induced demineralization of these tissues at a relative undersaturation with respect to hydroxyapatite (HAP) of 0.902, pH = 4.5, and ionic strength = 0.15 mol L(-1). The demineralization rates showed significant differences, primary enamel having the greater susceptibility to dissolution during an initial linear stage: 1.5 +/- 0.5 x 10(-10) mol mm(-2) min(-1) compared with 2.6 +/- 0.5 x 10(-11) mol mm(-2) min(-1) for permanent enamel. During the reactions, we observed nanosized crystallites which attached to the enamel surfaces or escaped into the bulk solution. These nanosized crystallites were kinetically protected against further dissolution, even though the solutions remained undersaturated. It is hypothesized that they may contribute to the remarkable mechanical and dynamic characteristics of enamel.

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