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Proceedings Paper

Dental hard tissue characterization using laser-based ultrasonics
Author(s): David W. Blodgett; Ward L. Massey
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Paper Abstract

Dental health care and research workers require a means of imaging the structures within teeth in vivo. One critical need is the detection of tooth decay in its early stages. If decay can be detected early enough, the process can be monitored and interventional procedures, such as fluoride washes and controlled diet, can be initiated to help re-mineralize the tooth. Currently employed x-ray imaging is limited in its ability to visualize interfaces and incapable of detecting decay at a stage early enough to avoid invasive cavity preparation followed by a restoration. To this end, non-destructive and non-contact in vitro measurements on extracted human molars using laser-based ultrasonics are presented. Broadband ultrasonic waves are excited in the extracted sections by using a pulsed carbon-dioxide (CO2) laser operating in a region of high optical absorption in the dental hard tissues. Optical interferometric detection of the ultrasonic wave surface displacements in accomplished with a path-stabilized Michelson-type interferometer. Results for bulk and surface in-vitro characterization of caries are presented on extracted molars with pre-existing caries.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 August 2003
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 4961, Laser-Tissue Interaction XIV, (27 August 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.488445
Show Author Affiliations
David W. Blodgett, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Ward L. Massey, Univ. of Maryland/Baltimore (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4961:
Laser-Tissue Interaction XIV
Donald Dean Duncan; Steven L. Jacques; Sean J. Kirkpatrick; Andres Kriete, Editor(s)

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