Imaging artificial caries on the occlusal surfaces with polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography

R. S. Jones, C. L. Darling, J. D.B. Featherstone, D. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) is a nondestructive imaging system that can utilize near-infrared (IR) light to produce depth-resolved images of dental enamel and has the potential to monitor early enamel occlusal caries. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between the magnitude of backscattered light and depolarization recorded by PS-OCT with changes in the enamel mineral volume in an artificial caries model. Artificial lesions were created on a selected region on the occlusal surfaces of sound posterior teeth (n = 10) using a well-characterized 14-day pH cycling model. An all-fiber-based PS-OCT system operating at 1,310 nm was used to collect serial images at day 0 and day 14 prior to tooth sectioning. The quantitative mineral content profile and relative mineral loss, ΔZ (%vol × μm), of the carious enamel samples were obtained from transverse sections using high-resolution digital microradiography (DM). Line profiles of PS-OCT and DM images were used to evaluate the artificial caries severity and depth. The integrated reflectivity of the perpendicular-axis PS-OCT image, quantifying lesion severity, was correlated to the ΔZ of the caries lesions. There was also a strong correlation between the lesion depth calculated from both imaging modalities. PS-OCT can image and quantify artificial occlusal caries by measuring the increase in backscattering and depolarization of near-IR light. This optical method has promising applications for in vivo detection and monitoring of early enamel occlusal caries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalCaries research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Caries, artificial
  • Caries, early
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Polarization

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Imaging artificial caries on the occlusal surfaces with polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this