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Quintessence Publishing: Journals: QI
Quintessence International

Edited by Eli Eliav

ISSN 0033-6572 (print) • ISSN 1936-7163 (online)

Publication:
May 1991
Volume 22 , Issue 5

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Enamel remineralization: how to explain it to patients

Barbakow/Imfeld/Lutz

Pages: 341-347
PMID: 1924687

The term remineralization of initial enamel caries is frequently used, but mainly at research conferences and in lecture rooms. Clinicians avoid discussing remineralization and white-spot enamel lesion formation with patients because details of the processes are complex. Patients, therefore, incorrectly assume that cavitation occurs right at the onset of caries and that a restoration must be placed to halt further progression of the lesion. Although laboratory and clinical studies have shown that initial white-spot enamel lesions can remineralize, patients have little or no access to this information. The schematic diagrams in this paper explain the diffusion of organic acids from plaque between enamel crystals, the partial loss of mineral from enamel crystals, and subsequent demineralization and remineralization that produces the white-spot lesion. Further, these diagrams may help clinicians explain remineralization as simply as possible to patients who present with white-spot enamel lesions.

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