Bioactive glass disks from the MgO-CaO-P2O5-SiO2 system were placed in artificial saliva for time periods varying from 1 to 42 days. Surfaces were then analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and x-ray diffraction to investigate surface morphologies and crystallinity. SEM examination exhibited dramatic surface changes as early as 2 d. X-ray results showed crystallinity in the form of apatite at 10 d, which became more developed though 42 d. The bioactive glass in water and non-bioactive glass in artificial saliva were used as controls; both exhibited no evidence of apatite formation on their surfaces through the 42 d time period. This study shows that bioactive glass reacts in artificial saliva to form apatite and that the apatite layer becomes better crystallized over an extended time period. These results give a better understanding of the surface changes and mineralization that occur over time and can be used to interpret results from in vitro and in vivo studies done on bioactive glass in the oral environment.
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