The use of nanoindentation to determine nanomechanical properties of mineralized tissues has been investigated extensively. A detailed, critical, and comprehensive review of this literature is the subject of the present work. After stating the motivation for the review, a succinct presentation of the challenges, advantages, and disadvantages of the various quasi-static nanoindentation test methods (to obtain elastic modulus, E, and hardness, H) and dynamic test methods (to obtain storage and loss moduli and/or loss/damping factor) is given in the form of a primer. Explicative summaries of literature reports on various intrinsic and extrinsic factors that significantly influence E and H, followed by 15 suggested topics for future research, are included additionally. This review is designed to present a compact guide to the principles of the nanoindentation technique and to emphasize considerations when determining material properties of mineralized tissues.
Keywords: nanoindentation; bone; teeth; stiffness; hardness