Permeability of normal versus carious dentin

E. L. Pashley, R. Talman, J. A. Horner, D. H. Pashley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Abstract Although a number of reports have been published demonstrating that carious dentin is less permeable than normal dentin, these reports have been qualitative rather than quantitative. The purpose of this in vitro study was to apply a quantitative technique to the study of the permeability of carious human teeth before and after excavation, before and after removal of the smear layer and before and after preparation of a control cavity of similar size and depth in normal dentin subjected to the same measurements, for comparative purposes. Dentin permeability was measured as a hydraulic conductance. The permeability values measured at each step in the protocol were expressed as a percent of the maximum permeability of both cavities, permitting each tooth to serve as its own control. Carious lesions exhibited a slight degree of permeability (2.3 ± 0.6% of controls) which remained unchanged after excavation of the lesions. Removal of the smear layer in the excavated carious lesions increased the permeability significantly to 6.9 ± 3.2%. Preparation of a control cavity of the same area and depth increased the permeability slightly. Removal of its smear layer increased the permeability of the dentin 91%. These results confirm previous qualitative studies that carious dentin, even after excavation and removal of the smear layer has a very low permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
JournalDental Traumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • acid‐etching
  • carious dentin
  • dentin permeability
  • hydraulic conductance
  • smear layers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery


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