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New methods are needed for the nondestructive measurement of tooth demineralization and remineralization to monitor the progression of incipient caries lesions (tooth decay) for effective nonsurgical intervention and to evaluate the performance of anticaries treatments such as chemical treatments or laser irradiation. Studies have shown that optical coherence tomography (OCT) has great potential to fulfill this role since it can be used to measure the depth and severity of early lesions with an axial resolution exceeding 10 μm, it is easy to apply in vivo and it can be used to image the convoluted topography of tooth occlusal surfaces. In this paper, a review of the use of polarization-sensitive-OCT for the measurement of tooth demineralization is provided along with some recent results regarding improved methods for the detection of caries lesions in the earliest stages of development. Automated methods of analysis were used to measure the depth and severity of demineralized bovine enamel produced using simulated caries models that emulate demineralization in the mouth. Significant differences in the depth and integrated reflectivity from the lesions were detected after only a few hours of demineralization. These results demonstrate that cross-polarization-OCT is ideally suited for the nondestructive assessment of early demineralization.
Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, IEEE Journal of (Volume:16 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: July-Aug. 2010