Jan 28, 2013
5
0
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
I am not a dental student, but a biology student. My question is, why is it said that only cavities on the surface of enamel can be remineralized?

What is it about enamel and dentin that makes dentin more difficult to remineralize? Is it simply that a cavity within the dentin is likely more difficult for saliva to reach?

If that is the case, could you apply some kind of solution(s) inside deeper cavities, to cure a cavity or remineralize it? Flouride only works for repairing enamel, but I'm wondering if something like xylitol or a mineral solution could help heal/remineralize a deeper cavity within the dentin.
 

NRG

10+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2006
192
0
Status
Pre-Dental
xylitol has been shown to help with remineralization. but its pretty costly and you'd need to use it at least 6-10g/ day
 

lemoncurry

tequila mockingbird
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Aug 20, 2006
3,807
1,008
42
Vermont
Status
Dentist
Dentin actually has reparative mechanisms, i.e. tertiary/reparative dentin, but the biggest problem with decay in the dentin is that the infection has already gotten through the enamel and has spread along the DEJ (dentinoenamel junction). Once it has reached this point, the decay can often be more widespread in the dentin than it was in the enamel. How would you get a medicament into the affected dentin? How would you make sure that all of the affected dentin has been treated by the medication? Other than removing the enamel that covers it, I know of no good way of accessing affected dentin.

It's a good question you pose, but ultimately just not practical given our current tools.