Measurement of Enamel Demineralization using Microradiography and Confocal Microscopy

M. Fontana, Y. Li, P. Dunipace, T. W. Noblitt, G. Fischer, B. P. Katz, G. K. Stookey

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51 Scopus citations


Substantial amounts of tooth minerals are lost during dental caries formation. Transversal microradiography, a well-accepted method used to quantify mineral loss, is a time-consuming technique which requires a thin enamel section (100 μm) and involves the use of x-rays. In an attempt to solve these difficulties, a procedure has been developed in which a human tooth specimen with demineralized enamel is cut in half (HT), stained with a fluorescent dye (rhodamine B) and analyzed using a laser scanning confocal microscope. A series of three studies was conducted to correlate measurements of enamel demineralization obtained from enamel thin (100 μm) sections (TS) using transversal microradiography with three parameters (area of the lesion; total and average dye fluorescence intensities) measured on the same TS or on a thicker section (HT) of the same specimen by laser scanning confocal microscopy. Results showed that a 0.1 mM rhodamine B solution provided the most adequate imaging conditions for confocal microscopy. Pearson's correlation coefficients, calculated between microradiography and confocal microscopy data obtained using a 0.1 mM rhodamine B solution, were: ΔZ vs. HT lesion area = 0.95; ΔZ vs. HT total fluorescence = 0.80; ΔZ vs. HT average fluorescence = 0.74; ΔZ vs. TS lesion area = 0.95; ΔZ vs. TS total fluorescence = 0.74; ΔZ vs. TS average fluorescence = 0.55. All these correlations coefficients were statistically significant (p<0.01). It is concluded that in enamel demineralization studies statistically significant correlations exist between parameters measured using transversal microradiography and parameters quantified using confocal microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-325
Number of pages9
JournalCaries research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Enamel caries
  • Microradiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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    Fontana, M., Li, Y., Dunipace, P., Noblitt, T. W., Fischer, G., Katz, B. P., & Stookey, G. K. (1996). Measurement of Enamel Demineralization using Microradiography and Confocal Microscopy. Caries research, 30(5), 317-325.