4D microstructural changes in dentinal tubules during acid demineralisation

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Dental erosion is a common oral condition caused by chronic exposure to acids from intrinsic/extrinsic sources. Repeated acid exposure can lead to the irreversible loss of dental hard tissues (enamel, dentine, cementum). Dentine can become exposed to acid following severe enamel erosion, crown fracture, or gingival recession. Causing hypersensitivity, poor aesthetics, and potential pulp involvement. Improving treatments that can restore the structural integrity and aesthetics are therefore highly desirable. Such developments require a good understanding of how acid demineralisation progresses where relatively little is known in terms of intertubular dentine (ITD) and peritubular dentine (PTD) microstructure. To obtain further insight, this study proposes a new in vitro method for performing demineralisation studies of dentine.

Advanced high-speed synchrotron X-ray microtomography (SXM), with high spatial (0.325 μm) and temporal (15 min) resolution, was used to conduct the first in vitro, time-resolved 3D (4D) study of the microstructural changes in the ITD and PTD phases of human dentine samples (∼0.8 × 0.8 × 5 mm) during 6 h of continuous acid exposure.

Different demineralisation rates of ITD (1.79 μm/min) and PTD (1.94 μm/min) and their progressive width-depth profiles were quantified, which provide insight for understanding the mechanisms of dentine demineralisation.

Insights obtained from morphological characterisations and the demineralisation process of ITD and PTD during acid demineralisation would help understand the demineralisation process and potentially aid in developing new therapeutic dentine treatments. This method enables continuous examination of relatively large volumes of dentine during demineralisation and also demonstrates the potential for studying the remineralisation process of proposed therapeutic dentine treatments.

Bibliographic note

Not yet published as of 17/09/2021


Original languageEnglish
JournalDental Materials
Early online date20 Sep 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sep 2021


  • Acid demineralisation, Synchrotron X-ray microtomography (SXM), Time-resolved 3D analysis, Erosion, Peritubular dentine (PTD), Intertubular dentine (ITD)