Near-Infrared Imaging for Detecting Caries and Structural Deformities in Teeth

April 20, 2017

Keith Angelino, David A. Edlund, Pratik Shah

Early Access Note:
Early Access articles are new content made available in advance of the final electronic or print versions and result from IEEE’s Preprint or Rapid Post processes. Preprint articles are peer-reviewed but not fully edited. Rapid Post articles are peer-reviewed and edited but not paginated. Both these types of Early Access articles are fully citable from the moment they appear in IEEE Xplore.


Near-Infrared Imaging for Detecting Caries and Structural Deformities in Teeth

Two-dimensional radiographs, while commonly used for evaluating sub-surface hard structures of teeth, have low sensitivity for early caries lesions particularly those on tooth occlusal surfaces. Radiographs are also frequently refused by patients over safety concerns. Translucency of teeth in the nearinfrared (NIR) range offers a non-ionizing and safe approach to detect dental caries. We report construction of a NIR (850 nm) LED imaging system, comprised of a NIR source and an intraoral camera for rapid dental evaluations. The NIR system was used to image teeth of 10 consenting human subjects and successfully detected secondary, amalgam–occluded and early caries lesions without supplementary image processing. The camera-wand system was also capable of revealing demineralized areas, deep and superficial cracks, and other clinical features of teeth usually visualized by X-rays. The NIR system’s clinical utility, simplistic design, low cost and user friendliness makes it an effective dental caries screening technology in conjunction or in place of radiographs.



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