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Quintessence International
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Quintessence Int 22 (1991), No. 5     1. May 1991
Quintessence Int 22 (1991), No. 5  (01.05.1991)

Page 341-347


Enamel remineralization: how to explain it to patients
Barbakow / Imfeld / Lutz
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.