On the mechanistic role of the dentin-enamel junction in preventing the fracture of human teeth

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The dentin-enamel junction (DEJ), which is the interface between the dentin and outer enamel coating in teeth, is known for its unique biomechanical properties that provide a crack-arrest barrier for flaws formed in the brittle enamel. In this work, we re-examine how cracks propagate in the proximity of the DEJ, and specifically quantify, using interfacial fracture mechanics, the fracture toughness of the DEJ region. Additionally, we show that the vital function of the DEJ, in preventing cracks formed in enamel from traversing the interface and causing catastrophic tooth fractures, is not necessarily associated with the crack-arrest capabilities of the DEJ ... continued below

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Imbeni, V.; Kruzic, J.J.; Marshall, G.W.; Marshall, S.J. & Ritchie, R.O. September 1, 2004.

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The dentin-enamel junction (DEJ), which is the interface between the dentin and outer enamel coating in teeth, is known for its unique biomechanical properties that provide a crack-arrest barrier for flaws formed in the brittle enamel. In this work, we re-examine how cracks propagate in the proximity of the DEJ, and specifically quantify, using interfacial fracture mechanics, the fracture toughness of the DEJ region. Additionally, we show that the vital function of the DEJ, in preventing cracks formed in enamel from traversing the interface and causing catastrophic tooth fractures, is not necessarily associated with the crack-arrest capabilities of the DEJ itself, but rather with the development of crack-tip shielding, primarily from uncracked-ligament bridging, in the mantle dentin adjacent to the DEJ. Measurements of the toughness of the DEJ region give estimates of G{sub c} {approx} 115 J/m{sup 2}, i.e., {approx}5 to 10 times higher than enamel and {approx}75 percent of that of dentin.

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OSTI as DE00837935

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  • Journal Name: Nature Materials; Journal Volume: 4; Other Information: Submitted to Nature Materials: Volume 4; Journal Publication Date: 03/2005

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  • Report No.: LBNL-56275
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 837935
  • Grant Number: R01 DE 13029
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc785232

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  • September 1, 2004

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2017, 1:04 p.m.

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Imbeni, V.; Kruzic, J.J.; Marshall, G.W.; Marshall, S.J. & Ritchie, R.O. On the mechanistic role of the dentin-enamel junction in preventing the fracture of human teeth, article, September 1, 2004; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785232/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.