J Korean Acad Conserv Dent.  2011 Sep;36(5):367-376. 10.5395/JKACD.2011.36.5.367.

Early caries detection using optical coherence tomography: a review of the literature

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Oral Anatomy, Seoul National University School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Conservative Dentistry, Seoul National University School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, Seoul, Korea. endoson@snu.ac.kr

Abstract

Early detection of carious lesions increases the possibility of treatment without the need for surgical intervention. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an emerging three-dimensional imaging technique that has been successfully used in other medical fields, such as ophthalmology for optical biopsy, and is a prospective candidate for early caries detection. The technique is based on low coherence interferometry and is advantageous in that it is non-invasive, does not use ionizing radiation, and can render three-dimensional images. A brief history of the development of this technique and its principles are discussed in this paper. There have been numerous studies on caries detection, which were mostly in vitro or ex vivo experiments. Through these studies, the feasibility of OCT for caries detection was confirmed. However, further research should be performed, including in vivo studies of OCT applications, in order to prove the clinical usefulness of this technique. In addition, some technological problems must be resolved in the near future to allow for the use of OCT in everyday practice.

Keyword

Dental caries; Diagnosis; Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
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