Remineralization of in vitro dental caries assessed with polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography

Robert S. Jones, Cynthia L. Darling, John D.B. Featherstone, Daniel Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) is potentially useful for imaging the nonsurgical remineralization of dental enamel. This study uses an all-fiber-based PS-OCT system operating at 1310 nm to image demineralized and fluoride-enhanced remineralized artificial lesions. PS-OCT images of lesions before and after remineralization are compared with the relative mineral loss ΔZ (%vol X/mm), obtained from high resolution digital microradiography (DM), and chemical composition changes by infrared spectroscopy. Severe early artificial caries show a significant increase in perpendicular-axis integrated reflectivity after remineralization. After sectioning the samples, DM demonstrates that the lesions reminer-alized with new mineral and the lesion surface zone show significant restoration of mineral volume. PS-OCT and DM both do not show a major change in lesion depth. For less severe artificial caries, the perpendicular-axis image resolves the scattering and depolarization of an outer growth layer after remineralization. This outer layer has a mineral volume close to that of sound enamel, and spectroscopic analysis indicates that the layer is a highly crystalline phase of apatite, without carbonate substitutions that increase the solubility of sound enamel. This study determines that PS-OCT can image the effects of fluoride-enhanced remineralization of mild and severe early artificial in vitro caries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014016
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Artificial caries
  • Dental caries
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Polarization
  • Remineralization

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