Deposition of zinc minerals in carious lesions and dentinal tubules

Christopher J. Raimondi, Andrea Shill, Sasan Rabieh, Trinanjana Mandal, Dindo Mijares, Yihong Li, Timothy G. Bromage, John Ricci, Marc A. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dental caries are treated by the surgical removal of infected tissue where the biological mineral, hydroxyapatite, has been eroded. For early carious lesions, surgical methods have increasingly been replaced by minimally invasive dentistry protocols to arrest the lesion progression by controlling plaque formation and promoting dentin remineralization. Zinc phosphate mineral deposition in dentinal tubules was studied as a modality for the treatment of dental caries. Extracted permanent human molars, with and without carious lesions, were employed to study the coverage and depth of mineral deposition with in situ mixing of zinc and phosphate salt solutions. Milled hydroxyapatite was employed as a surrogate for dentin in the study of mineral formation in tubules. The mineral composition was identified by X-ray powder diffraction. Scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed the deposition of zinc phosphate minerals that effectively occlude dentinal tubules by crystallization within dentinal tubules. Mineral deposition was similarly observed at the site of a carious lesion, which highlights the feasibility of zinc phosphate deposition for the treatment of dental caries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135927
JournalMaterials Letters
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


  • Carious lesions
  • Dentin
  • Phosphate
  • Tubule
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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