Age-related transparent root dentin: mineral concentration, crystallite size, and mechanical properties

Biomaterials. 2005 Jun;26(16):3363-76. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2004.09.004.


Many fractures occur in teeth that have been altered, for example restored or endodontically repaired. It is therefore essential to evaluate the structure and mechanical properties of these altered dentins. One such altered form of dentin is transparent (sometimes called sclerotic) dentin, which forms gradually with aging. The present study focuses on differences in the structure and mechanical properties of normal versus transparent dentin. The mineral concentration, as measured by X-ray computed microtomography, was significantly higher in transparent dentin, the elevated concentration being consistent with the closure of the tubule lumens. Crystallite size, as measured by small angle X-ray scattering, was slightly smaller in transparent dentin, although the importance of this finding requires further study. The elastic properties were unchanged by transparency; however, transparent dentin, unlike normal dentin, exhibited almost no yielding before failure. In addition, the fracture toughness was lowered by roughly 20% while the fatigue lifetime was deleteriously affected at high stress levels. These results are discussed in terms of the altered microstructure of transparent dentin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Dentin / chemistry*
  • Dentin Solubility
  • Hardness
  • Humans
  • Minerals / metabolism
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Synchrotrons
  • Tensile Strength
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Tooth Demineralization
  • Tooth Root / metabolism*
  • X-Rays


  • Minerals