The present study investigated the effects of fluoride (F) concentration, lesion baseline severity (ΔZ base) and mineral distribution on lesion progression. Artificial caries lesions were created using three protocols [methylcellulose acid gel (MeC), hydroxyethylcellulose acid gel (HEC), carboxymethylcellulose acid solution (CMC)] and with low and high ΔZ base groups by varying demineralization times within protocols. Subsequently, lesions were immersed in a demineralizing solution for 24 h in the presence of 0, 1, 2 or 5 ppm F. Changes in mineral distribution characteristics of caries lesions were studied using transverse microradiography. At baseline, the protocols yielded lesions with three distinctly different mineral distributions. Secondary demineralization revealed differences in F response between and within lesion types. In general, lowΔZ lesions were more responsive to F than highΔZ lesions. LowΔZ MeC lesions showed the greatest range of response among all lesions, whereas highΔZ HEC lesions were almost unaffected by F. Laminations were observed in the presence of F in all but highΔZ HEC and CMC lesions. Changes in mineral distribution effected by F were most pronounced in MeC lesions, with remineralization/mineral redeposition in the original lesion body at the expense of sound enamel beyond the original lesion in a dose-response manner. Both ΔZ base and lesion mineral distribution directly impact the F response and the extent of secondary demineralization of caries lesions. Further studies - in situ and on natural white spot lesions - are required to better mimic in vivo caries under laboratory conditions.
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