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Proceedings Paper

Real-time near-IR imaging of laser-ablation crater evolution in dental enamel
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Paper Abstract

We have shown that the enamel of the tooth is almost completely transparent near 1310-nm in the near-infrared and that near-IR (NIR) imaging has considerable potential for the optical discrimination of sound and demineralized tissue and for observing defects in the interior of the tooth. Lasers are now routinely used for many applications in dentistry including the ablation of dental caries. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that real-time NIR imaging can be used to monitor laser-ablation under varying conditions to assess peripheral thermal and transient-stress induced damage and to measure the rate and efficiency of ablation. Moreover, NIR imaging may have considerable potential for monitoring the removal of demineralized areas of the tooth during cavity preparations. Sound human tooth sections of approximately 3-mm thickness were irradiated by a CO2 laser under varying conditions with and without a water spray. The incision area in the interior of each sample was imaged using a tungsten-halogen lamp with band-pass filter centered at 131--nm combined with an InGaAs focal plane array with a NIR zoom microscope in transillumination. Due to the high transparency of enamel at 1310-nm, laser-incisions were clearly visible to the dentin-enamel junction and crack formation, dehydration and irreversible thermal changes were observed during ablation. This study showed that there is great potential for near-IR imaging to monitor laser-ablation events in real-time to: assess safe laser operating parameters by imaging thermal and stress-induced damage, elaborate the mechanisms involved in ablation such as dehydration, and monitor the removal of demineralized enamel.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2007
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6425, Lasers in Dentistry XIII, 64250I (8 March 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.714787
Show Author Affiliations
Cynthia L. Darling, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)
Daniel Fried, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6425:
Lasers in Dentistry XIII
Peter Rechmann; Daniel Fried, Editor(s)

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