The University of Surrey and the School of Dentistry at the University of Birmingham have developed a new technique to improve understanding of how acid damages teeth at the microstructural level.
The researchers performed a technique called “in situ synchrotron X-ray microtomography” at Diamond Light Source, a special particle accelerator facility with which the University of Surrey has a strong working partnership. There, electrons were accelerated to near light speed to generate bright X-rays that were used to scan dentine samples while they were being treated with acid.
This enabled the team to build clear 3D images of dentine’s internal structure with micrometer resolution (a micrometer being one-thousandth of a millimeter). By analyzing these images over the six hours of the experiment, the researchers conducted the first-ever time-resolved 3D study (often referred to as 4D studies) of the dentine microstructural changes caused by acid.