Primary enamel permeability: A sem evaluation in vivo

A. Lucchese, A. Bertacci, S. Chersoni, M. Portelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim The aim of this study was to evaluate in vivo the occurrence of outward fluid flow on primary tooth sound enamel surface. Methods Sixty primary upper canines from preadolescent patients (mean age 8.0±1.9) and 24 retained primary upper canines from adult subjects (mean age 35.0±1.8) were analysed. The enamel surface was gently polished and air dried for 10 s. An impression was immediately obtained by vinyl polyxiloxane. Replicas were then obtained by polyether impression material, gold coated and inspected under SEM. The hydrophobic vinyl polyxiloxane material enabled to obtain in situ a morphological image of the presence of droplets, most likely resulting from outward fluids flow through outer enamel. For each sample three different representative areas of 5μ2 in the cervical, medium and incisal third were examined and droplets presence values was recorded. All data were analysed by by Fisher's exact test. Results Primary enamel showed a substantial permeability expressed as droplets discharge on its surface. Droplets distribution covered, without any specific localisation, the entire enamel surface in all the samples. No signs of post-eruptive maturation with changes in droplets distribution were observed in samples from adult subjects. No statistically significant differences (P = 0.955) were noted in the percentage distribution of enamel area covered with droplets among the two group studied. Conclusion SEM evaluation of droplets distribution on enamel surface indicated a substantial enamel permeability in primary teeth, accordingly with histological features, without changes during aging. A relationship between enamel permeability, caries susceptibility and bonding procedures effectiveness could be hypothesised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-235
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Bonding procedures
  • Caries susceptibility
  • Permeability
  • Primary enamel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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