The maturation stage of enamel development is characterized by a cyclic modulation of the ameloblasts between bands of smooth-ended cells and longer bands of ruffle-ended cells. There are cyclic patterns of calcein staining of and 45Ca uptake in the enamel associated with this cellular modulation. Rats were given 0, 75, 100, or 150 ppm fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride disrupted the cyclic patterns of the maturation stage, resulting in fewer bands of smooth-ended ameloblasts, fewer calcein-stained stripes, and fewer cycles of 45Ca uptake. When animals were given water containing 0 ppm fluoride following ingestion of water containing 100 ppm fluoride, the pattern of calcein staining returned to that of the control enamel. The disruption of the cyclic patterns in the maturation stage and the increased protein content of maturation enamel seem to be among the early events in the development of fluorosis.