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Early stage dental caries detection using near infrared spatial frequency domain imaging

Bounds, Alistair D. and Girkin, John M. (2021) 'Early stage dental caries detection using near infrared spatial frequency domain imaging.', Scientific reports., 11 . p. 2433.


Early stage dental caries can be remineralized without the need for “drill-and-fill” treatments that are more invasive and less permanent. However, early stage caries lesions typically present as a white spot on a white background, resulting in many lesions only being identified after they have developed beyond the point of remineralization as cavities. We present a spatial frequency domain imaging technique to characterize the optical properties of dental tissue. This technique enables different dental tissue types (healthy enamel, healthy dentin and damaged or demineralized enamel) to be easily distinguished from one another and allows quantification of the reduced scattering coefficients of dental tissue. The use of near-infrared light at 850 nm allows high depth penetration into the tissue and suppression of absorption effects, ensuring only changes in the reduced scattering coefficient that result directly from demineralization of enamel are observed and simplifying the analysis method. This technique provides a tool to both guide the attention of dentists to areas of interest and potential demineralization, and to provide longitudinal quantified assessments to monitor caries lesion behaviour over time.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit © The Author(s) 2021
Date accepted:24 December 2020
Date deposited:03 February 2021
Date of first online publication:28 January 2021
Date first made open access:03 February 2021

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