The study assessed connective tissue and epithelial responses to dentin specimens (obtained from normal roots of human teeth) after surface demineralization. Rectangular dental specimens with opposite faces of root and pulpal dentin were prepared from beneath root surfaces covered by periodontal ligament. One-half of the specimens were treated with citric acid, pH 1, for 3 minutes, while the remainder served as untreated control specimens. Specimens were implanted vertically into incisional wounds on the dorsal surface of rats with one end of the implant protruding through the skin. Four specimens in each group were available 1, 3, 5 and 10 days after implantation. Histologic and histometric analyses included counts of adhering cells, evaluation of connective tissue fiber relationships and assessment of epithelial migration. Analyses within each group comparing root and pulpal surfaces showed no differences between any of the parameters. Comparisons between experimental and control groups showed that demineralized surfaces had a greater number of cells attached, fiber attachment occurred and epithelial downgrowth was inhibited. The fiber attachment to experimental specimens differed morphologically from fiber attachment to normal root surfaces: the number of fibers attached per unit length and the diameter of attached fibers were significantly less on experimental specimens. Demineralized specimens at 10 days had a distinct eosinophilic surface zone. Surface demineralization of dentin predisposed toward a cell and fiber attachment system which inhibited migration of epithelium.
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