Remaining dentine thickness and human pulp responses

PE Murray, Anthony Smith, LJ Windsor, IA Mjor

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65 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: To evaluate pulp responses as a function of remaining dentine thickness (RDT) of 98 class V cavity preparations in 49 teeth of 31 patients aged 10-16 years. METHODOLOGY: Shallow cavities were restored with amalgam, deeper cavities or pulp exposures were restored with amalgam lined with calcium hydroxide or with zinc oxide eugenol. Teeth were extracted after 3-89 days for orthodontic reasons. Following processing for light microscope analysis, the number of odontoblasts, pulp inflammation, and repair was recorded. RESULTS: In comparison with independent odontoblasts, the numbers of odontoblasts were reduced by 13.6% beneath a RDT of 2.5-0.5 mm, 33.7% beneath a RDT of 0.5-0.01 mm and 99.0% beneath pulp-exposed cavities. Reparative dentine was observed following pulp exposure and reactionary dentine was observed with a mean RDT of 0.77 mm (2.5-0.01 mm). Reactionary dentine secretion was influenced by RDT and restorative materials. Pulp inflammation was not influenced by RDT in the present study. CONCLUSIONS: Cavity RDT mediates a powerful influence on underlying pulp tissue vitality but it has little effect on reactionary dentine secretion and inflammatory activity. Gross tissue injury explains the poor pulp capping prognosis following exposure and underlies the need to avoid this type of injury. Following restoration, a RDT of 0.5 mm or greater is necessary to avoid evidence of pulp injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Endodontic Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • inflammation
  • reparative dentine
  • odontoblast
  • zinc oxide eugenol
  • calcium hydroxide


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