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There are evidences that in ancient cultures in Mexico, copal was probably used for gluing precious stones in teeth cavities and for dental restorations as well. This is an important reason for making experiments using copal and copal-based composites in order to have more information for the potential applications of this material in modern dentistry. In our experiments concerning with dental incrustations of turquoise, we have practiced round cavities (about 1 mm depth) in the middle of incisive teeth by using a low-speed air turbine. Turquoise was cut in such a way that fits exactly on the tooth cavity. Copal and powdered apatite were used to glue the stone into the cavity. With Scanning electron microscopy we have observed that the composite copal-powdered apatite, penetrates the dentin tubules in the tooth tissue (depth of penetration from 5.6 to 41 micrometers), suggesting the existence of a micromechanical adherence. Concerning to the characterization of the adhesive properties, we have applied the ASTM D2095-72 test considering the adhesion of two cylinders of bone, and the copal composite as the adhesive. A maximum cohesive tensile strength around 0.1 MPa for elastic response was measured for hydroxyapatite compositions of 0, 25 and 75 wt%. We will discuss these results considering the reports of dental incrustations in ancient Mexico.
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