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(1) When the dentinal tubules are opened or sufficiently irritated, their contents coagulate and die.
(2) Following this, the pulp lays down an impermeable barrier of lime salts (secondary dentine) to protect itself from contact with the dead tubules. Alternatively the pulp itself dies.
(3) The evidence that exposed dentine always dies is as follows: (a) Such dentine is insensitive right through to the secondary dentine. (b) The injured dentine is found experimentally to be shut off from the pulp in such a way that fluids cannot enter it. It thus lacks the necessary body fluids to support life. (c) Under an injury the primary dentine is seen to stop abruptly at the original pulp margin, and to be sealed off with a homogeneous barrier of lime salts before the tubules of the secondary dentine start. The tubules of the secondary dentine take origin below this homogeneous layer in fine branches and obviously have no connexion with the injured primary tubules. (d) The injured tubules although walled off from the pulp remain permeable from the mouth and have therefore not died by slow calcification.