Comparing potential early caries assessment methods for teledentistry

Zachary Van Hilsen, Robert S. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Optical caries detection has the potential to be incorporated in telehealth medicine for preventive dental screening. The objective of this study was to evaluate and compare visible and near infrared detection methods for identifying early non-cavitated ex vivo occlusal demineralization.Methods: Six blinded examiners were used to compare the accuracy of the following three examinations in detecting occlusal demineralization: Midwest Caries ID™ (MID), visual photographic examination (CAM) and Cross Polarization Optical Coherence Tomography (CP-OCT). For each diagnostic method, two examiners assessed the extracted tooth samples 1-2 weeks apart. Teeth were then sectioned and lesion depth was confirmed (n = 42) by a blinded histological examination using a glycol based caries indicator dye. The sensitivity (Sen), specificity (Sp), Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC), and Area under the Receiver Operator Curve (AUC) were calculated.Results: For detecting any demineralization versus sound pit and fissure enamel, the mean Sen/Sp found was 46.9/85.0 for MID, 80.5/52.5 for CAM, and 83.4/45.0 for CP-OCT. For detecting non-cavitated demineralization that progressed into the dentin, the mean Sen/Sp found was 17.3/88.0 for MID, 48.0/57.8 for CAM, and 44.2/72.7 for CP-OCT. AUC values were statistically significant (P < 0.05) in three out of four examiner assessments when MID and CP-OCT were used to detect any demineralization. AUC values were significant for a single CAM examination. When assessing deeper non-cavitated lesions, none of the assessment methods were able to yield AUC values that were significantly different than a random 'coin flip' test. When examining reliability, MID demonstrated the highest ICC score (0.83) and CP-OCT had the lowest (0.49).Conclusion: Although MID and CP-OCT were useful in detecting the presence of demineralization, examiners were not able to utilize these devices to adequately assess the depth of the demineralization. This study found that MID and CP-OCT did not have markedly superior diagnostic values from simple CAM assessment for use in teledentistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 28 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded partially by the University of Minnesota and 3M Nontenured Faculty Development Award. The study would like to thank Dan Fallon, Crystal Bill, Allison Johnston, Dave Nelson, Nick Baylon, and Brandon Bailey for their help in the assessment of teeth in this study. We would like to thank Dentsply’s unrestricted donation of the Caries ID™ to the University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry. We would also like to thank Danville Materials unrestricted donation of composite materials used in this study.


  • Caries
  • Detection system
  • Imaging
  • Light-Emitting Diode
  • Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Telehealth


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing potential early caries assessment methods for teledentistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this