Chapter 12. The Structure of Teeth: Human Enamel Crystal Structure

  1. Prof. Dr. Edmund Bäuerlein
  1. Frédéric Cuisinier and
  2. Colin Robinson

Published Online: 20 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch56

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation

How to Cite

Cuisinier, F. and Robinson, C. (2007) The Structure of Teeth: Human Enamel Crystal Structure, in Handbook of Biomineralization: Biological Aspects and Structure Formation (ed E. Bäuerlein), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527619443.ch56

Editor Information

  1. Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Department of Membrane Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18 A, 82152 Planegg, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 25 MAY 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527316410

Online ISBN: 9783527619443

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Keywords:

  • calcium phosphate;
  • enamel crystal;
  • crystal growth;
  • atomic force microscopy (AFM);
  • high-resolution electron microscopy (HREM)

Summary

In this chapter we review and compare data on enamel crystals obtained with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The combination of AFM and HRTEM images is useful when elucidating enamel crystal growth mechanisms, since AFM provides information about surface properties (morphology, chemistry, physics) while HRTEM permits the determination of crystallographic structure. From a comparison of these data it was possible to validate a crystal growth mechanism involving the fusion of smaller mineral subunits. It appears that such fusion occurs during the secretory stage of enamel formation, with the fusion lines being still visible in the crystals at the maturation stage.