Measuring enamel erosion: a comparative study of contact profilometry, non-contact profilometry and confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Aude-Marine Paepegaey, Matthew L. Barker, David W. Bartlett, Miten Mistry, Nicola X. West, Nicola Hellin, Louise J. Brown, Philip G. Bellamy*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

31 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To compare three instruments for their ability to quantify enamel loss after acid erosion.
Methods: 6 randomized parallel groups of bovine enamel samples were subjected to citric acid (higher acidity) or orange juice (lower acidity) erosion and remineralisation in a cycling model. Two protected shoulders were created on each of the samples using tape, to serve as reference for analysis. The time of exposure to each acid was varied, along with presence or absence of agitation. After treatment, samples were measured on 3 instruments capable of measuring step height: a contact profilometer (CP); a non-contact profilometer (NCP); and a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) by three different examiners. Additionally, 3D (volume) step height was also measured using the CLSM.
Results: Increasing acid concentration and exposure time resulted in greater erosion, as did agitation of samples while in acid solution. All instruments/methods identified the same statistically significant (p<0.05) pair-wise differences between the treatments groups. Further, all four methods exhibited strong agreement (Intra-class correlation ≥ 0.96) in erosion level and were highly correlated, with correlations of 0.99 or higher in all cases.
Significance: All instruments/methods used in this study produced very similar conclusions with regard to ranking of enamel loss, with data showing very high agreement between instruments. All instruments were found to be equally suited to the measurement of enamel erosion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1265-1272
Number of pages8
JournalDental Materials
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Academy of Dental Materials. All rights reserved.


  • In vitro erosion
  • Enamel erosion
  • Contact profilometry
  • Non-contact profilometry
  • Confocal laser scanning microscopy
  • CLSM
  • SITU
  • TIME


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