Scanning Microscopy


The forming surfaces of enamel of rat incisors were examined by scanning electron microscope one hour after injection of either 5 mg/100 g body weight of sodium fluoride or 12 mg/100 g body weight of cobalt chloride. The cell debris from the surfaces of the separated incisors was either gently wiped off with soft facial tissues or chemically removed by treating with NaOH, NaOCl or trypsin. Best results to remove cell debris were obtained from 0.25% trypsin treatment.

SEM studies revealed that the surface of the normal secretory enamel was characteristic in appearance with well-developed smooth prism outlines. In fluoride specimens the prism outlines were feathery in appearance, laced with protruding spine-shaped clusters of mineral crystals. In the case of cobalt treatment, prism outlines were less uniform and in some areas they were incomplete.

The calcium concentration of surface enamel was significantly lower in the cobalt-treated specimens than those from control and fluoride-treated animals. The Ca:Mg ratio was also lower in cobalt-treated specimens as compared to control and fluoride-treated ones.

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