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23 March 2005 OCT of early dental caries: a comparative study with histology and Raman spectroscopy
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Early dental caries result from destruction of the tooth's outer mineral matrix by acid-forming bacteria found in dental plaques. Early caries begin as surface disruptions where minerals are leached from the teeth resulting in regions of decreased mineral matrix integrity. Visually, these early carious regions appear as white spots due to the higher backscattering of incident light. With age these areas may become stained by organic compounds. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination of human teeth demonstrates a difference in penetration depth of the OCT signal into the carious region in comparison with sound enamel. However, while OCT demonstrates a structural difference in the enamel in the region of the caries, this technique provides little insight into the source of this difference. Raman spectroscopy provides biochemical measures derived from hydroxyapatite within the enamel as well as information on the crystallinity of the enamel matrix. The differences in the biochemical and morphological features of early caries and intact sound enamel are compared. Histological thin sections confirm the observations by OCT morphological imaging while Raman spectroscopy allows for biochemical identification of carious regions by a non-destructive method. Visual examination and conventional radiographic imaging of the intact tooth are used in clinical assessment prior to optical measurements. The combination of OCT, Raman spectroscopy and thin section histology aid in determining the changes that give rise to the visual white spot lesions.
© (2005) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Mark D. Hewko, Lin-P'ing Choo-Smith, Alex Chun-Te Ko, Lorenzo Leonardi, Cecilia C.S. Dong, Blaine Cleghorn, and Michael G. Sowa "OCT of early dental caries: a comparative study with histology and Raman spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 5687, Lasers in Dentistry XI, (23 March 2005);

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