Reduction in Fracture Resistance of the Root with Aging
The incidence of vertical root fracture in endodontically treated teeth increases with patient age. This study evaluated the microstructure, chemical composition, and mechanical properties of radicular dentin as a function of aging.Methods
Single-rooted teeth were obtained from adult donors ranging from age 15 to older than 80 years. Beams were extracted from the middle third of the root and subjected to 4-point flexure to failure to evaluate strength of dentin in terms of donor age. Based on the strength distribution, the fatigue strength of root tissue from young (≤30 years) and old (≥55 years) donor teeth was evaluated via cyclic flexure loading. The microstructure and chemical composition of radicular dentin from the 2 groups were evaluated as a function of distance from the root apex using microscopy and Raman spectroscopy, respectively.Results
The strength decreased with age by approximately 25 MPa per decade, which resulted in a significant difference (P ≤ .0001) between the young (199 ± 36 MPa) and old (122 ± 11 MPa) groups. There was also a significant difference (P ≤ .0001) in fatigue strength between the young and old age groups. Both the mineral-to-collagen ratio and degree of cross-linking increased with age, with the largest changes identified in the apical and middle thirds, respectively.Conclusions
There is a reduction in the damage tolerance of radicular dentin with increasing age. This degradation appears to result from changes in the microstructure, corresponding chemical composition, and increase in collagen cross-linking with age, and is most severe near the root apex.