Towards the evaluation of non-permanent dental coatings for their capacity to impart dental-care benefits, thin films of a homologous series of comb-like poly(alkyl methacrylate)s (ethyl to octadecyl) have been deposited, from aqueous latex formulations, onto dentally relevant substrates. AFM studies have shown that the thickness (40–300 nm) and surface roughness (8–12 nm) of coherent polymer films are influenced by the degree of polymerization and by the length of the pendant chain. Of the polymers under consideration, poly(butyl methacrylate) formed a close-packed film that conferred to dental substrates a high degree of inhibition to acid-mediated erosion (about 27%), as evaluated by released-phosphate determinations. The potential utility of the coatings to act as anti-sensitivity barriers has been evaluated by determining the hydraulic conductance of coated bovine-dentine substrates; single treatments of dentine discs with poly(butyl methacrylate) or with poly(ethyl methacrylate) effected mean respective reductions in fluid flow of about 23% with respect to water-treated controls; repeated applications of the poly(butyl methacrylate) latex led to mean reductions in fluid flow of about 80%. Chromometric measurements have shown that pellicle-coated hydroxyapatite discs treated with poly(butyl methacrylate), poly(hexyl methacrylate) or poly(lauryl methacrylate) exhibit significant resistance to staining by food chromogens
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