Calcium and phosphorus content of roots exposed to the oral environment

Mark Cohen, Jerry J. Garnick, Robert D. Ringle, Philip J. Hanes, William O. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study analyzed the calcium and phosphorus content of extracted tooth roots exposed to the in vivo oral environment. 20 teeth were obtained from 16 patients and divided into two groups of 10 teeth each. In group 1, the teeth had gingival probing depths of 5 mm or more, and teeth of group 2 had gingival recessions of 3 mm or more. Prior to extraction, the gingival margin location was recorded by placing a groove on the tooth surface. After extraction, the teeth were sectioned coronatapically, air dried and coated with carbon. Energy dispersive X‐ray spectra, excited in a scanning electron microscope, were analyzed to measure relative calcium and phosphorus contents and for calculation of their ratios. X‐rays were collected from two positions on the sectioned root. Experimental positions were selected within the exposed portion of the roots of groups 1 and 2, and unexposed positions were selected from that portion of the same root with attached periodontal membrane. At each position, calcium and phosphorus content was measured at 4 depths into the root surface: in cementum, in dentin three‐quarters of the distance to the pulp chamber, and at 2 locations in between on either side of the cemento‐dentinal junction. Analysis of data demonstrated large variations in calcium and phosphorus content from surface to surface of individual teeth and from tooth to tooth in a subject. No statistically significant differences were found between experimental and unexposed locations. Calcium and phosphorus contents were greater in roots exposed to pockets when compared to roots exposed by recession at both experimental and unexposed locations. The mean calcium/phosphorus ratio of 1.8 was increased over reported values for hydroxyapatite. Trend analysis across combined data from groups 1 and 2 showed both calcium and phosphorus were significantly higher toward locations nearer to the ptilp chamber. This study showed that the oral environment had little effect on either calcium or phosphorus content or ratios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-273
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • X‐ray
  • calcium and phosphorus
  • cementum
  • dentin
  • gingival recession
  • periodontal pockets
  • scanning electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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