Investigation of the structure of human dental tissue at multiple length scales using high energy synchrotron X-ray SAXS/WAXS

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Colleges, School and Institutes


High energy (>50keV) synchrotron X-ray scattering experiments were carried out on beamline I12 JEEP at the Diamond Light Source (DLS, Oxford, UK). Although a complete human tooth could be studied, in the present study attention was focused on coupons from the region of the Dentin-Enamel Junction (DEJ). Simultaneous high energy SAXS/WAXS measurements were carried out. Quantitative analysis of the results allows multiple length scale characterization of the nano-crystalline structure of dental tissues. SAXS patterns analysis provide insight into the mean thickness and orientation of hydroxyapatite particles, while WAXS (XRD) patterns allow the determination of the crystallographic unit cell parameters of the hydroxyapatite phase. It was found that the average particle thickness determined from SAXS interpretation varies as a function of position in the vicinity of the DEJ. Most mineral particles are randomly orientated within dentin, although preferred orientation emerges and becomes stronger on approach to the enamel. Within the enamel, texture is stronger than anywhere in the dentin, and the determination of lattice parameters can be accomplished by Pawley refinement of the multiple peak diffraction pattern. The results demonstrate the feasibility of using high energy synchrotron X-ray beams for the characterization of human dental tissues. This opens up the opportunity of studying thick samples (e.g., complete teeth) in complex sample environments (e.g., under saline solution). This opens new avenues for the application of high energy synchrotron X-ray scattering to dental research.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIP Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011