Send to

Choose Destination
Dent Mater. 1997 Nov;13(6):338-43.

Dentin demineralization: effects of dentin depth, pH and different acids.

Author information

Department of Restorative Dentistry, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Erratum in

  • Dent Mater 1998 Sep;14(5):383.



This investigation sought to determine: 1) if dentin demineralization rates are proportional to acid concentration for demineralization in phosphoric acid (10% or 1.76 M, 0.025 M, 0.0001 M, with pH = 0.95, 2.0, 4.0 respectively); 2) if the etching characteristics are independent of dentin depth; and 3) if the etching characteristics for phosphoric acid were comparable to those for citric acid over a similar pH range.


Highly polished dentin disks from freshly extracted, non-carious, third molars were prepared with a reference layer. Samples were prepared from either superficial or deep coronal dentin. The samples were etched for periods of up to 30 min using phosphoric acid solutions (pH = 0.95, 2.0, 4.0) in a wet cell of an atomic force microscope (AFM). Depth changes with respect to the reference layer were determined for the intertubular and peritubular dentin to quantify structural changes. The results were compared with similar studies using citric acid (pH = 1.0, 2.15 or 3.4). Etching characteristics were statistically compared using 2-way repeated measures ANOVA at p < 0.05 and the Tukey's multiple comparison test.


The relation between time and recession for peritubular dentin was initially linear. The intertubular dentin recession started rapidly but then reached a plateau within a very short interval for etching solutions at pH = 2.0 and 4.0. At the highest concentration, the recession decreased with time, but a clear plateau was not established. There was no statistical difference between peritubular etching rates of superficial and deep dentin surfaces with phosphoric acid at any concentration. There was also no difference in the intertubular dentin recession at the location of the plateau that depended on dentin depth. Etching rates increased dramatically with decreased pH for both phosphoric and citric acids, but were higher for citric acid than for phosphoric acid.


The AFM allowed quantification of changes during etching of wet dentin. Peritubular dentin etching rates increased with decreasing pH, as expected, but changes were not linear and were different for the two acids studied over a similar pH range. Intertubular dentin surface recession was small and plateaued for low concentrations. The peritubular etching rate and intertubular dentin recession did not depend on dentin depth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center