Induction and 3D reconstruction of caries-like lesions in an experimental dental plaque biofilm model

W. H. Arnold*, P. Gaengler, K. Sabov, I. Schmitz, I. Gedalia, D. Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to examine an in vitro dental plaque model for volumetric assessment and 3D reconstruction of experimentally bacterial induced caries-like lesions. Twenty-three extracted, impacted human molars were coated with a varnish leaving a 3 × 3 mm window on the smooth surface. The teeth were coated with human saliva and Streptococcus sobrinus 6715 adhered onto the enamel via a succrose dependent mechanism. The coated teeth were incubated for 1, 7, 14 and 28 days. At the end of each incubation period microhardness was measured on three sectioned teeth of each incubation period at the enamel surface and at 450 and 750 μm depth perpendicular to the enamel surface. The enamel surface was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) prior to embedding and serial sectioning of 12 other teeth. The serial sections were studied with polarization light microscopy to investigate subsurface demineralization. The outlines of the caries-like lesions were then traced consecutively on transparencies, digitized and three-dimensionally reconstructed to demonstrate the expansion of the lesion into enamel for volumetric assessment. Microhardness was significantly reduced on the enamel surface after 7, 14 and 28 days incubation. The SEM investigation showed a surface demineralization with dissolution of the prism cores after 28 days incubation. Polarization light microscopy demonstrated caries-like lesions with an irregular expansion into enamel. The results demonstrate that the described method produces caries-like lesions which can be used for further experimental studies regarding demineralization and remineralization processes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)748-754
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2001


  • 3D reconstruction
  • Biofilm
  • Experimental caries-like lesions


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