The use of transverse microradiography (TMR) to quantify the amount of mineral lost during demineralization of tooth tissue has long been established. In the present study, the use of an en-face Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) technology to detect and quantitatively monitor the mineral changes in root caries was investigated and correlated with TMR.
Materials and Methods:
We used an OCT system, developed initially for retina imaging, and which can collect A-scans, B-scans (longitudinal images) and C-scans (en-face images) to quantitatively assess the development of root caries. The power to the sample was 250 µW, wavelength λ = 850 nm and the optical source linewidth was 16 µm.
Both the transversal and longitudinal images showed the caries lesion as volumes of reduced reflectivity. Quantitative analysis using the A-scan (reflectivity versus depth curve) showed that the tissue reflectivity decreased with increasing demineralization time. A linear correlation (r = 0.957) was observed between the mineral loss measured by TMR and the percentage reflectivity loss in demineralized tissue measured by OCT.
We concluded that OCT could be used to detect incipient root caries, and that the reflectivity loss in root tissue during demineralization, measured by OCT, could be related to the amount of mineral lost during the demineralization.
optical coherence tomography, root caries, confocal imaging, dentin caries, quantitative transverse microradiography