This report describes the initial in vivo wound healing response of connective tissue components and cells to demineralized and nondemineralized dentin surfaces. Rectangular dentin specimens were prepared from beneath root surfaces covered by periodontal ligament. One group of six specimens were treated with citric acid, while another six specimens served as untreated controls. Specimens were implanted vertically into the skin of rats such that one end of the implant protruded above the skin. After one day, the implants were removed, and the dentin surface-connective tissue interface was examined using scanning electron microscopic methods. The surface of the nondemineralized dentin implants had the morphological characteristics of a surface smear layer. Cells that were present on these nondemineralized surfaces were rounded in shape with few processes or extensions to the dentin surface or to other cells. The surfaces of the demineralized dentin implants were fibrillar in appearance and were usually covered by a layer that had many globular and fibrillar structures attached. Cells that were present on these demineralized surfaces exhibited marked bipolarity with distinct attachments to the dentin surface. Cell processes often extended into the openings of demineralized dentin tubules. It was concluded that an established cellular and connective tissue response to demineralized dentin occurred within the first 24 hours of wound healing, and that this response differed markedly from that associated with nondermineralized dentin surfaces.
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