The purpose of this article is to compare various model systems for the production of in vitro root caries and to assess their ability to simulate the naturally occurring root caries process. Partially saturated buffer models and gel models were evaluated using polarized light microscopy and both qualitative and quantitative microradiography. All model systems showed very similar lesion formation when examined under polarized light. When microradiographs were compared, the systems which contained fluoride, showed clear radiopaque bands within the lesion. The bands, which occurred only in the presence of fluoride, appeared to be due to remineralization. When using an in vitro system that simulates the natural root caries process, it is imperative to understand the components of the particular model, as well as its limitations, and to be aware of the need for more than one evaluative technique.

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