In vivo model for microbial invasion of tooth root dentinal tubules

Jane L Brittan, Susan V Sprague, Emma L Macdonald, Robert M Love, Howard F Jenkinson, Nicola X West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
434 Downloads (Pure)


Objective Bacterial penetration of dentinal tubules via exposed dentine can lead to root caries and promote infections of the pulp and root canal system. The aim of this work was to develop a new experimental model for studying bacterial invasion of dentinal tubules within the human oral cavity. Material and Methods Sections of human root dentine were mounted into lower oral appliances that were worn by four human subjects for 15 d. Roots were then fixed, sectioned, stained and examined microscopically for evidence of bacterial invasion. Levels of invasion were expressed as Tubule Invasion Factor (TIF). DNA was extracted from root samples, subjected to polymerase chain reaction amplification of 16S rRNA genes, and invading bacteria were identified by comparison of sequences with GenBank database. Results All root dentine samples with patent tubules showed evidence of bacterial cell invasion (TIF value range from 5.7 to 9.0) to depths of 200 mm or more. A spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative cell morphotypes were visualized, and molecular typing identified species of Granulicatella, Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomonas as dentinal tubule residents. Conclusion A novel in vivo model is described, which provides for human root dentine to be efficiently infected by oral microorganisms. A range of bacteria were able to initially invade dentinal tubules within exposed dentine. The model will be useful for testing the effectiveness of antiseptics, irrigants, and potential tubule occluding agents in preventing bacterial invasion of dentine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-35
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Oral Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Dentine
  • Oral bacteria
  • Intra-oral appliance
  • 16S rRNA


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