The purpose of this investigation was to study the intra-oral rehardening of acid-softened enamel and fluoride uptake from SnF2 gel. Bovine enamel slabs were softened with 0.1 mol/L lactate buffer at pH 4.0 for 14 hrs and then mounted in a mandibular removable Hawley appliance. Control slabs were worn for 96 hrs by seven adult males whose teeth were brushed daily with a fluoride-free dentifrice. Test slabs were exposed once/day to 0.4% SnF2 gel. The gel was swabbed onto the slabs for one minute before being replaced in the mouth unrinsed. The natural dentition was brushed 4x/day with a fluoride-free dentifrice. Microhardness testing was performed after a intra-oral exposure (IOE) and after acid-resistance-testing (ART) following immersion in 0.01 mol/L lactate buffer for 24 hrs at pH of 4.0. Fluoride uptake was measured on separate controls, test slabs, and test slabs after ART, with 0.5 mol/L HClO4 etches of from 15 to 60 sec. The F content was measured with a F-ion-specific electrode and the phosphate content by spectrophotometry. Following IOE, microhardness recovery was 35.6% for control and 37.9% for test slabs, and control slabs retained 1.4% resistance to acid, as compared with 18.6% for the test slabs. The F content of control slabs was significantly less than that of SnF2-treated slabs from 5 to 60 μm in depth, and the F content of SnF2-treated slabs after ART was significantly less at depths of from 5 to 35 μm than that of SnF2-treated slabs not exposed to ART. Both control and SnF 2 enamel slabs demonstrated rehardening after IOE, but only SnF 2-treated enamel retained a significant fraction of that rehardening after ART.
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