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Oral Histology Debt 206


Physical properties of enamel

Thickest over cusp tips & incisal edges (2.5 mm) & thinnest at the cervical margin (knife edge) Hardest biological object Doesnt undergo replacement or repair Low tensile strength & brittle White with low translucency that increases with age reflecting the yellow color of dentine

Chemical properties


Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2 88-90% by volume & 95-96% by weight, the remainder being the organic material & water Mineral content increases from EDJ to surface Crystallites are hexagonal 70 nm in width, 25 nm thick & of great length Crystallites are much bigger than those in dentine, cementum & bone Core is more soluble than peripheries Ion replacement may occur

HCO3 for OH Mg for Ca F for OH conferring greater stability & resistance to acidic dissolution

F level declines from outer to inner layers

Chemical properties


About 2% by weight or 5-10% by volume

1-2% May be more

Organic matrix

Where crystallites are irregular Enamel tufts EDJ

Amino acids, peptides, ameloginins & nonamelogenins & lipids

Enamel Prisms
Basic structural unit consisting of crystals packed in long & thin rods Run from EDJ to the surface Boundaries reflect sudden change in orientation of crystals (40 60 degrees)

Enamel prisms

In x-section

Pattern I circular pattern


EDJ & surface Interprismatic areas exist between prisms

Pattern II


Pattern III keyhole pattern


predominant Occupies the bulk of

Keyhole pattern

Head & tail areas A tail is located between 4 heads Change in crystals orientation is gradual within a single keyhole but sudden between 2 keyholes In the head, crystals run parallel to prisms long axis Within the keyhole, crystals diverge in different directions from the heads central area In the tail crystals are 65-70 degrees from those in the head but divergence is gradual

Enamel prisms

longitudinal section, prisms appear to run in straight lines from EDJ to surface Prisms meet enamel surface at different angles
margin right angles More occlusally/incisally 60 degrees At fissures 20 degrees

Prism vs. core

Prism = rod + interrod Prism = head + tail = keyhole pattern Head = core = rod Tail = interrod Prism = hexagonal?

Hunter-Schreger bands

Prisms follow a sinusoidal path in longitudinal sections Layers in a block of 10 -13 layers follow same direction Blocks above & below follow different direction

Resistance to fracture Fractured enamel has a grinding surface

Periodic changes give Hunter-Schreger bands Because different bands of prisms transmit light in different directions Parazones

Areas where bands of prisms are cut longitudinally Areas where bands of prisms are cut tranversely

Diazone Angle between parazones & diazones is 40 degrees Bands in outer run in same direction no HS bands Gnarled enamel

Underneath cusp tips & incisal edges Where groups of prisms spiral around others

Hunter-Schreger bands

Aprismatic enamel

Permanent teeth

Outer 20 70 m
Outer 20 100 m

Deciduous teeth

Crystallite are parallel to each other & at right angle to the surface More mineralized due to absence of prism boundaries Occur due to absence of TP at late stage of enamel deposition

Incremental lines
Enamel in formed incrementally Periods of activity alternates with periods of quiescence This results in incremental lines Two types

Short period Cross-striations Long period enamel striae

Lines at right angles with long axes of prisms 2.5 6 m apart In cervical enamel 2 m because enamel forms more slowly Reflect a diurnal rhythm

Enamel striae (of Retzius)

Structural lines running obliquely across the prisms in longitudinal sections They run circumferentially in x-sections Striae overlapping cusps & incisal edges do not reach the surface There are 7 10 cross-striation between 2 subsequent striae Reflect nearly a weekly intervals Due to metabolic disturbances during mineralization Absent in enamel formed before birth Neonatal line is a marked stria formed at birth reflecting metabolic disturbance at birth

Enamel Striae

Enamel Striae

Enamel striae

Perikymata grooves & ridges

Occur as enamel striae reach enamel surface Appear as a series of fine grooves and ridges alternatively running circumferentially Close together near the cervical margin In deciduous teeth, only seen in cervical enamel of second molars

Enamel dentine junction

EDJ reflects the boundary between enamel and dentine Two patterns


Beneath cusps & incisal edges High shearing forces Convexities at enamel surfaces At the lateral surface Low shearing forces


Structures visible at EDJ

Enamel spindles Enamel tufts Enamel lamellae

Enamel spindles
Tubules extending up to 25 m into enamel Believed to be odontoblastic process that remained between ameloblasts

Enamel tufts

Resemble tufts of grass

Travel in same direction as the prisms Hypomineralized areas Several prisms wide Suggested to result from residual protein matrix (non-amelogenin)

Enamel spindles tufts & lamellae

Enamel lamellae
Sheet-like structural fault Run through entire thickness of enamel Hypomineralized Lamellae vs. cracks in ground sections Causes

Developmentally - may be due to incomplete maturation of groups of prisms After eruption cracks

Age changes

Enamel wear

Abrasion Erosion Attrition Increased thinness Acquired stains

More Fluoride incorporated Susceptibility to caries decreases Porosity is reduced

Darkening in color

Composition of surface enamel changes