Scanning Microscopy


Dental calculus formed after 10 days on resin plates, applied to the lingual sides of the mandibular gingival regions in eight human subjects, was investigated by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDX). The mineral deposits were mainly divided into three types: A, B, and C. The type A deposits showing an average Ca/P molar ratio of 1.42 were densely packed with fine needle-shaped crystals formed by the intra- and extracellular calcification. The type A deposits, probably composed of Ca-deficient apatites and the transitional forms between apatite and octacalcium phosphate (OCP), were observed in all subjects. The type B deposits showing an average Ca/P molar ratio of 0.96 were aggregated with polygonal column, triangular plate-shaped, and rhombohedral crystals. These crystals identified as brushite (CaHPO4-2H2O: dicalcium phosphate dihydrate: DCPD) were found in four subjects. Platelet-shaped crystals of the type C deposits were observed in three subjects. Their Ca/P molar ratio of 1.26 and the crystal shape were similar to those of OCP. Whitlockite crystals were not found although Mg-containing hexagonal disk-like crystals were observed in two subjects.

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