King's College London

Research portal

Progress and limitations of current surface registration methods when measuring natural enamel wear.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Accepted/In press19 Jun 2021

King's Authors


Our ability to detect dental wear on sequential scans is improving. This experiment aimed to determine if widely used surface registration methods were sufficiently accurate to distinguish differences between intervention groups on early wear lesions.
Baseline measurements were taken on human molar buccal enamel samples (n=96) with a confocal scanning profilometer (Taicaan, UK). Samples were randomly assigned to subgroups of brushing (30 linear strokes 300g force) before or after an acid challenge (10 min citric acid 0.3% immersion) for four test dentifrices (medium abrasivity NaF, medium abrasivity SnF2, low abrasivity NaF and a water control). Post-experimental profilometry was repeated. 3D step height was analysed using WearCompare (, UK). Percentage Sa change was calculated using Boddies (Taicaan Technologies, Southampton, UK). Data were analysed in SPSS (IBM, USA).
The mean 3D step height (SD) observed when samples were brushed before the erosive challenge was -2.33 µm (3.46) and after was -3.5 µm (5.6). No significant differences were observed between timing of toothbrushing or dentifrice used. The mean % Sa change for the low abrasivity group (water control and low abrasivity NaF) was -10.7% (16.8%) and +28.0% (42.0%) for the medium abrasivity group (medium abrasivity NaF and SnF2).
Detectable wear scars were observed at early stages of wear progression. However standard deviations were high and the experiment was underpowered to detect significant changes. Brushing with a low abrasivity dentifrice or water control produced a smoother surface whereas brushing with a high abrasivity dentifrice produced a rougher surface.

Clinical Significance
The methodology currently used to align sequential scans of teeth and measure change is too imprecise to measure early wear on natural enamel surfaces unless a large sample size is used. Further improvements are required before we can fully assess early wear processes on natural teeth using profilometry.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454