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Dental enamel

Synonym: Substantia adamantina, Enamelum
German: Zahnschmelz

1 Definition

With a brinell hardness of 300- 350 HB, the dental enamel is the hardest substance the human body can produce. It covers the crown and can differ in its thickness from up to 2 mm at the cusps of the crown, down to 0,1 mm at fissures and is phasing out to the cervical area.

2 Chemical structure

  • Anorganic substances (Apatite) 95 – 98 (wt%)
    • Hydroxyapatite [Ca5(PO4)3OH]
    • Fluorapatite [Ca5(PO4)3F]
    • Carbonapatite [Ca10(PO4)6CO3]
  • Organic matrix (amelogenin, enamelin) 1-2 (wt%)
  • Water 3-4 (wt%)

3 Crystalline structure

The dental enamle consists of enamel-prisms with a diameter of 4-5 mycrometers (built up out of ca. 1000 apapite-crystals), growing in size from the enamel-dentin-boarder towards the surface. Between the prisms, there is interprismatic enamel. The last 30-80 mycrometers of the enamel surface are free from prisms.

4 Hunter-Schreger-stripes

The prisms grow vertical to the enamel-dentin-boarder and make their way to the surface as bundles. This is the reason for the so called Hunter-Schreger-stripes. Bright and dark stripes occur because of the different light refraction.

5 Retzius-stripes (growth-lines)

Parallel to the surface there is a second type of stripes. The so called Retzius-stripes occur because of the periodical calcification of the dental enamel.

The dental enamel has no cells included and therefore cannot be regenerated.

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