A transparent highly mineralized outer surface zone is formed on caries lesions during remineralization that reduces the permeability to water and plaque generated acids. However, it has not been established how thick the surface zone should be to inhibit the penetration of these fluids. Near-IR (NIR) reflectance coupled with dehydration can be used to measure changes in the fluid permeability of lesions in enamel and dentin. Based on our previous studies, we postulate that there is a strong correlation between the surface layer thickness and the rate of dehydration. In this study, the rates of dehydration for simulated lesions in enamel with varying remineralization durations were measured. Reflectance imaging at NIR wavelengths from 1400-2300 nm, which coincides with higher water absorption and manifests the greatest sensitivity to contrast changes during dehydration measurements, was used to image simulated enamel lesions. The results suggest that the relationship between surface zone thickness and lesion permeability is highly non-linear, and that a small increase in the surface layer thickness may lead to a significant decrease in permeability.
Nai-Yuan N. Chang, Jamison M. Jew, and Daniel Fried, "Lesion dehydration rate changes with the surface layer thickness during enamel remineralization," Proc. SPIE 10473, Lasers in Dentistry XXIV, 104730D (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2018; Published: 8 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296023.
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