Crack arrest within teeth at the dentinoenamel junction caused by elastic modulus mismatch
Bechtle, S; Fett, T; Rizzi, G; Habelitz, S; Klocke, A; Schneider, GA
BIOMATERIALS, 2010, Band 31, Heft 14, S. 4238-4247
Enamel and dentin compose the crowns of human teeth. They are joined at the dentinoenamel junction (DEJ) which is a very strong and well-bonded interface unlikely to fail within healthy teeth despite the formation of multiple cracks within enamel during a lifetime of exposure to masticatory forces. These cracks commonly are arrested when reaching the DEJ. The phenomenon of crack arrest at the DEJ is described in many publications but there is little consensus on the underlying cause and mechanism. Explanations range from the DEJ having a larger toughness than both enamel and dentin up to the assumption that not the DEJ itself causes crack arrest but the so-called mantle dentin, a thin material layer close to the DEJ that is somewhat softer than the bulk dentin. In this study we conducted 3-point bending experiments with bending bars consisting of the DEJ and surrounding enamel and dentin to investigate crack propagation and arrest within the DEJ region. Calculated stress intensities around crack tips were found to be highly influenced by the elastic modulus mismatch between enamel and dentin and hence, the phenomenon of crack arrest at the DEJ could be explained accordingly via this elastic modulus mismatch.