Multi-scale characterization of Developmental Defects of Enamel and their clinical significance for diagnosis and treatment

Sophia Houari*, Karen DeRocher, Tran Thu Thuy, Thibaud Coradin, Vesna Srot, Peter A. van Aken, Hélène Lecoq, Thierry Sauvage, Etienne Balan, Julie Aufort, Marco Calemme, Nicolas Roubier, Julia Bosco, Katia Jedeon, Ariane Berdal, Derk Joester, Sylvie Babajko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Developmental Defects of Enamel (DDE) such as Dental Fluorosis (DF) and Molar Incisor Hypomineralization (MIH) are a major public health problem. Their clinical aspects are extremely variable, challenging their early and specific diagnosis and hindering progresses in restorative treatments. Here, a combination of macro-, micro- and nano-scale structural and chemical methods, including, among others, Atom Probe Tomography recently applied on tooth enamel, were used to study and compare MIH, DF and healthy teeth from 89 patients. Globally, we show that DF is characterized by an homogenous loss of mineral content and crystallinity mainly disrupting outside layer of enamel, whereas MIH is associated with localized defects in the depth of enamel where crystalline mineral particles are embedded in an organic phase. Only minor differences in elemental composition of the mineral phase could be detected at the nanoscale such as increased F and Fe content in both severe DDE. We demonstrate that an improved digital color measurement of clinical relevance can discriminate between DF and MIH lesions, both in mild and severe forms. Such discriminating ability was discussed in the light of enamel composition and structure, especially its microstructure, organics presence and metal content (Fe, Zn). Our results offer additional insights on DDE characterization and pathogenesis, highlight the potentiality of colorimetric measurements in their clinical diagnosis and provide leads to improve the performance of minimally invasive restorative strategies. Statement of significance: Developmental Defects of Enamel (DDE) are associated to caries and tooth loose affecting billions of people worldwide. Their precise characterization for adapted minimally invasive care with optimized materials is highly expected. Here In this study, first we propose the use of color parameters measured by a spectrophotometer as a means of differential clinical diagnosis. Second, we have used state-of-the-art techniques to systematically characterize the structure, chemical composition and mechanical optical properties of dental enamel teeth affected by two major DDE, Dental Fluorosis (DF) or Molar Incisor Hypomineralization (MIH). We evidence specific enamel structural and optical features for DF and MIH while chemical modifications of the mineral nanocrystals were mostly correlated with lesion severity. Our results pave the way of the concept of personalized dentistry. In the light of our results, we propose a new means of clinical diagnosis for an adapted and improved restoration protocol for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • Atom Probe Tomography
  • Crystallography
  • Developmental Defect of Enamel
  • Electron microscopy
  • Nuclear techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Multi-scale characterization of Developmental Defects of Enamel and their clinical significance for diagnosis and treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this