Dentin on the nanoscale: Hierarchical organization, mechanical behavior and bioinspired engineering

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Objective Knowledge of the structural organization and mechanical properties of dentin has expanded considerably during the past two decades, especially on a nanometer scale. In this paper, we review the recent literature on the nanostructural and nanomechanical properties of dentin, with special emphasis in its hierarchical organization. Methods We give particular attention to the recent literature concerning the structural and mechanical influence of collagen intrafibrillar and extrafibrillar mineral in healthy and remineralized tissues. The multilevel hierarchical structure of collagen, and the participation of non-collagenous proteins and proteoglycans in healthy and diseased dentin are also discussed. Furthermore, we provide a forward-looking perspective of emerging topics in biomaterials sciences, such as bioinspired materials design and fabrication, 3D bioprinting and microfabrication, and briefly discuss recent developments on the emerging field of organs-on-a-chip. Results The existing literature suggests that both the inorganic and organic nanostructural components of the dentin matrix play a critical role in various mechanisms that influence tissue properties. Significance An in-depth understanding of such nanostructural and nanomechanical mechanisms can have a direct impact in our ability to evaluate and predict the efficacy of dental materials. This knowledge will pave the way for the development of improved dental materials and treatment strategies. Conclusions Development of future dental materials should take into consideration the intricate hierarchical organization of dentin, and pay particular attention to their complex interaction with the dentin matrix on a nanometer scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-649
Number of pages13
JournalDental Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Collagen
  • Dentin
  • Intrafibrillar mineral
  • Organs-on-a-chip
  • Proteoglycans
  • Remineralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Dentistry
  • Mechanics of Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Dentin on the nanoscale: Hierarchical organization, mechanical behavior and bioinspired engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this