The understanding of detailed structures and properties of enamel is essentia for designing new implant materials that faithfully resemble enamel structure or to regenerate enamel through biomimetics using proteins as templates. As part of a greater effort in enamel biomimetics, this work focused on nanostructures and mechanical properties of individual enamel rods using the mause as a test animal.
A mature mouse incisor consists of two layers - dentin and enamel. In order to perform its normal masticatory function, the incisor must have sufficiently high flexural strength, toughness, and wear resistance. Enamel, which is highly mineralized (∼100%) with a knitted micro-architecture, satisfies the mechanical property requirements. It is known that elongated hydroxyapatite (HAP) crystals mineralize in bundles, i.e., enamel rods, and organize in a 3-D cross pattern. [1,2] However the organizations of HAP crystals within and between rods are not well understood.