Enamel Subsurface Damage Due to Tooth Preparation with Diamonds

H. H. Xu, J. R. Kelly, S. Jahanmir, V. P. Thompson, and E. D. Rekow, “Enamel Subsurface Damage Due to Tooth Preparation with Diamonds,” Journal of Dental Research, 76(1997) 1698-1706.

In clinical tooth preparation with diamond burs, sharp diamond particles indent and scratch the enamel, causing material removal. Such operations may produce subsurface damage in enamel. However, little information is available on the mechanisms and the extent of subsurface damage in enamel produced during clinical tooth preparation. The aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate the mechanisms of subsurface damage produced in enamel during tooth preparation by means of diamond burs, and to examine the dependence of such damage on enamel rod orientation, diamond particle size, and removal rate. Subsurface damage was evaluated by a bonded-interface technique. Tooth preparation was carried out on two enamel rod orientations, with four clinical diamond burs (coarse, medium, fine, and superfine) used in a dental handpiece. The results of this study showed that subsurface damage in enamel took the form of median-type cracks and distributed microcracks, extending preferentially along the boundaries between the enamel rods. Microcracks within individual enamel rods were also observed. The median-type cracks were significantly longer in the direction parallel to the enamel rods than perpendicular to the rods. Preparation with the coarse diamond bur produced cracks as deep as 84 +/- 30 microns in enamel. Finishing with fine diamond burs was effective in crack removal. The crack lengths in enamel were not significantly different when the removal rate was varied. Based on these results, it is concluded that subsurface damage in enamel induced by tooth preparation takes the form of median-type cracks as well as inter- and intra-rod microcracks, and that the lengths of these cracks are sensitive to diamond particle size and enamel rod orientation, but insensitive to removal rate.

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