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J Biomed Mater Res. 1998 Dec 15;42(4):500-7.

Effect of citric acid concentration on dentin demineralization, dehydration, and rehydration: atomic force microscopy study.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0758, USA.


Most current dentin bonding procedures use acid etchants to partially demineralize the dentin structure and provide pathways for resin infiltration. This study determined the recession rates of peritubular dentin and intertubular dentin as a function of pH during demineralization in citric acid solutions (0.0005-2.5M) and the effects of dehydration and rehydration on the partially demineralized dentin. Polished dentin disks were prepared with an internal reference layer and were studied at specific intervals for citric acid etching between pH 1 and 3.4 in an atomic force microscope. Peritubular dentin etched rapidly and linearly with time until it could no longer be measured. The intertubular surface began etching at nearly the same rate, but then recession slowed for all concentrations and stabilized after recession of less than 1 microm for all but the pH 1 solution. The decrease in recession was attributed to the limitation of contraction of the demineralized collagen scaffold as long as it remained hydrated. Dehydration following etching resulted in significant collapse of the surface, changes in roughness, and a slight decrease in tubule diameter for samples etched for 30 min. Measurements could not be made of the collapse for low pH samples, because shrinkage stresses disrupted the integrity of the reference layer. On rehydration, the dehydrated surfaces underwent an expansion up to the level seen after etching and tubule diameters returned to the etched values. These results indicate that the collapse of demineralized matrix is almost totally recoverable on rehydration.

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