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Calcif Tissue Int. 1984 Sep;36(5):550-5.

Length and shape of enamel crystals.


An original method for fractionating and preparing isolated crystals of homogeneous size was developed. It was demonstrated that enamel apatite crystals are at least 100 micron long. The flexibility of the very long crystallites was demonstrated. Crystal curvatures, accounting for the irregular course of the prisms through the enamel thickness, were visualized and measured. It was shown that in the deep forming enamel layer, lateral branches may grow out of the crystals and crystal fusing often occurs, inducing the crystallites to assume pyramidal shapes with their wide bases pointing toward the dentino-enamel junction and one or two tops toward Tomes' processes. During the maturation process, the two tops of the still immature crystals also fuse so that the mature crystals acquire a rodlike aspect, with parallel faces and steplike graduations along the c axis, allowing a close contact between the crystals. These results support the hypothesis that the crystallites would be continuous from the dentino-enamel junction to the surface.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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