Dental Enamel: Detection of Surface Changes by Ultrasound

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Science  25 Sep 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3952, pp. 1314-1316
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3952.1314


Evidence indicates that the tooth surface differs in structure from the enamel immediately beneath it, and particularly that the enamel rod type structure is minimal in the true natural surface. Furthermore, the rod ends appear to disappear with age after the eruption of the tooth. The thickness of the surface layer may be as much as 25 micrometers. Studies of caries incidence show a peak in the attack curve 2 to 4 years after eruption and a decline thereafter for all teeth. This information indicates that the mechanical structure of the tooth surface should be carefully studied. A highly useful means appears to be ultrasound since the specific acoustic impedance of highly mineralized tissue like enamel is strongly dependent on fraction volume mineralization and since non-destructive test techniques can be based on ultrasonics. An experimental demonstration of ultrasonic detection in vitro of tooth surface demineralization is given.