School of Dentistry


Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics

Demineralization and Remineralization

Demineralization and Remineralization

The formation of dental caries is a dynamic process with intermittent episodes of mineral loss (demineralization) and redeposition (remineralization). Tooth minerals are dissolved by organic acids produced from carbohydrate metabolism of bacteria in tooth surface biofilm (dental plaque). When the secretion of saliva raises the pH, dissolved ions precipitate back to the demineralized area. Contemporary concept for dental caries treatment emphasizes mineral redeposition to reverse the caries process rather than treating caries lesions as damaged tissues subject to total eradication.

The initial stage of tooth decay (dental caries) and its reverse process of remineralization is simulated in vitro using a chemical model. The extent of the caries is measured with microhardness testing and quantitative micro-radiography. This quantitative technology enables us to follow the progression of caries and develop new strategies that can be used in the prevention and treatment of tooth decay. This effort is led by Dr. Daranee Tantbirojn Versluis, who has introduced a number of innovations in artificial caries assessment of new materials. The demineralization and remineralization (demin/remin) process is a major growth area for the MDRCBB.

Hardness Caries Graph

Lesion DV White Spot

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  • Last modified on August 29, 2012