Efficacy of Sterilisation Methods and Their Effect on Enamel Demineralisation

B. T. Amaechi, S. M. Higham, W. M. Edgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The aim of this project was to determine the effectiveness of sterilisation methods for dental enamel for use in intra-oral cariogenicity tests, and their possible effect on the degree of demineralisation of enamel. Bovine incisors were cut vertically into five portions and each assigned to one of five groups. Group 1 was used as a control while the other four groups were subjected, respectively, to gamma irradiation (≅25kGy), steam autoclaving (121 °C for 15 min), sodium hypochlorite (12% w/v for 24 h) and povidone-iodine (7.5% w/v for 24 h). Total viable counts of microorganisms remaining following sterilisation of the specimens were performed following incubation of the specimens for 24 h at 37 °C. Caries-like lesions were produced in each specimen using an acidic buffer solution (pH 4.5). Sections were cut from each specimen, ground to 80-μm thickness, and microradiographed. Mineral loss and lesion depth were quantified using transverse microradiography. Statistical analysis was by ANOVA. Dunnett's and Tukey's tests. Microbial growth (Staphylococcus aureus and bacilli) was observed only in control specimens in both brain heart infusion broth and on blood agar plates. The sterilisation methods affected the enamel surface as follows: gamma irradiation (cream discolouration), NaOCl (bleaching), and povidone-iodine (white spot-like lesion). Compared with the control, there was no significant difference in mineral loss and lesion depth with any of the groups, but the numerical values of mineral loss and lesion depth in groups can be ranked as follows: gamma irradiation <povidone-iodine <control <autoclave <NaOCl. In conclusion, the four sterilisation methods were all effective to sterilise enamel, but gamma irradiation proved the most acceptable method for enamel to be used in cariogenicity tests having the least adverse effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-446
Number of pages6
JournalCaries Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Autoclave
  • Enamel
  • Gamma irradiation
  • Intra-oral cariogenicity test
  • Povidone-iodine
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Sterilisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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