Research and Education|Articles in Press

Use of polyvinyl siloxane impressions to monitor sub-5-μm erosive tooth wear on unpolished enamel


      Statement of problem

      Whether polyvinyl siloxane impressions are capable of reproducing 5-μm changes on natural freeform enamel and potentially enabling clinical measurements of early surface changes consistent with wear of teeth or materials is unclear.


      The purpose of this in vitro study was to investigate and compare polyvinyl siloxane replicas with direct measurements of sub-5-μm lesions on unpolished human enamel lesions by using profilometry, superimposition, and a surface subtraction software program.

      Material and methods

      Twenty ethically approved unpolished human enamel specimens were randomized to a previously reported cyclic erosion (n=10) and erosion and abrasion (n=10) model to create discrete sub-5-μm lesions on the surface. Low viscosity polyvinyl siloxane impressions were made of each specimen before and after each cycle and scanned by using noncontacting laser profilometry and viewed with a digital microscopy and compared with direct scanning of the enamel surface. The digital maps were then interrogated with surface- registration and subtraction workflows to extrapolate enamel loss from the unpolished surfaces by using step-height and digital surface microscopy to measure roughness.


      Direct measurement revealed chemical loss of enamel at 3.4 ±0.43 μm, and the polyvinyl siloxane replicas were 3.20 ±0.42 μm, respectively. For chemical and mechanical loss direct measurement was 6.12 ±1.05 μm and 5.79 ±1.06 μm for the polyvinyl siloxane replica (P=.211). The overall accuracy between direct and polyvinyl siloxane replica measurements was 0.13 +0.57 and −0.31 μm for erosion and 0.12 +0.99 and −0.75 μm for erosion and abrasion. Surface roughness and visualization with digital microscopy provided confirmatory data.


      Polyvinyl siloxane replica impressions from unpolished human enamel were accurate and precise at the sub-5-μm level.
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