The aims of this laboratory study were to compare the effects of lesion baseline severity, mineral distribution and substrate on remineralization and progression of caries lesions created in root dentin. Lesions were formed in dentin specimens prepared from human and bovine dentin using three protocols, each utilizing three demineralization periods to create lesions of different mineral distributions (subsurface, moderate softening, extreme softening) and severity within each lesion type. Lesions were then either remineralized or demineralized further and analyzed using transverse microradiography. At lesion baseline, no differences were found between human and bovine dentin for integrated mineral loss (x0394;Z). Differences in mineral distribution between lesion types were apparent. Human dentin lesions were more prone to secondary demineralization (x0394;x0394;Z) than bovine dentin lesions, although there were no differences in x0394;L. Likewise, smaller lesions were more susceptible to secondary demineralization than larger ones. Subsurface lesions were more acid-resistant than moderately and extremely softened lesions. After remineralization, differences between human and bovine dentin lesions were not apparent for x0394;x0394;Z although bovine dentin lesions showed greater reduction in lesion depth L. For lesion types, responsiveness to remineralization (x0394;x0394;Z) was in the order extremely softened>moderately softened>subsurface. More demineralized lesions exhibited greater remineralization than shallower ones. In summary, some differences exist between human and bovine dentin and their relative responsiveness to de- and remineralization. These differences, however, were overshadowed by the effects of lesion baseline mineral distribution and severity. Thus, bovine dentin appears to be a suitable substitute for human dentin in mechanistic root caries studies.