Though the mineral distribution of the dentine carious lesion varies largely from tooth to tooth and from patient to patient, there are two main distribution profiles that characterize natural carious lesions in dentine. These profiles include softened and subsurface lesion types. The mineral distribution relationship between the starting profile and the profile after remineralization is not known. In order to study the relational aspects, we have produced demineralized dentine samples in vitro with mineral profiles similar to those of typical natural carious lesions, and subsequently remineralized the samples in a remineralizing solution with various fluoride concentrations (0, 2 and 10 ppm F). The mineral distributions were obtained by using an improved microradiographic technique. In addition, the nature of deposited mineral was analyzed by diamond–coupled total internal reflectance spectroscopy. Definite relationship was observed between the original lesion mineral distribution and the mineral distributions following remineralization. The amount of mineral present in approximately the first 50 μm of the lesion influenced the overall mineral profile after remineralization, possibly through influencing ion transport. If the amount was high (> approximately 10 vol%), the deposited mineral was confined to the surface (0–50 μm). The original mineral at those depths acted like a nucleus of mineral regrowth when the amount of residual mineral was intermediate, and like a transport barrier when the surface layer was well mineralized. If a surface barrier was not present, mineral was deposited at deeper depths in the lesion. Fluoride effect on dentine remineralization was dependent on the original mineral content and its distribution in the lesion. Although a high concentration of fluoride was very effective in low–mineral lesions, it produced hyperremineralization on well–mineralized subsurface lesions so that it prevented effective remineralization especially in deeper lesions.

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