A novel non-destructive technique for qualitative and quanti
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A novel combination of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and profilometry measures the entire erosive process. Complex erosion revealed - concurrent surface stripping and subsurface depletion.

The objective was to explore the potential of combining non-contact profilometry (NCP) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) data to measure the entire erosive process non-destructively and to validate findings using inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and surface microhardness (SMH) using the same samples throughout.

Polished bovine enamel samples were divided into groups with similar SMH values. Samples underwent individual erosive challenges for 1, 5, 10, 15, or 30-min under stirring and aliquot extracts were analyzed for Ca and P by ICP-AES. SMH was used to measure erosive softening. Profilometry was used to assess bulk volume loss (BVL). Images were captured by SEM. Samples were stained with rhodamine-B and images captured by CLSM.

Image processing was used to determine changes in fluorescent volume for the first 10 μm (ΔFV10) for each enamel sample which was combined with BVL to calculate total lesion volume (TLV). ANOVA, linear regression, and Pearson correlation analysis were used where applicable.

--Surface softening, [Ca], [P], BVL, and ΔFV10μm increased with acid erosion duration which were significant by 10 min.

--The Ca:P ratio increased to 1.57 then decreased after 5 min erosion suggesting a sub/surface phase change, which was observed by SEM and CLSM showing significant changes to the enamel surface and subsurface morphology with time.

--The combination of BVL and ΔFV10 as TLV strengthened the significant correlations with [Ca], [P], and SMH.

In conclusion, this novel combination of CLSM and NCP allows for concurrent non-destructive quantification of the entire erosive process by mineral loss, and qualitatively characterizes microstructural changes during dental erosion.

Journal of Dentistry
Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2021.103688
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