Eastman Dental Institute


Optical coherence tomography use in the diagnosis of enamel defects

10 March 2016

Khalifa Al-Azri, Lucia N. Melitab, Adam P. Strange, Frederic Festy,  Maisoon Al-Jawad, Richard Cook, Susan Parekh, and Laurent Bozec

Journal of Biomedical Optics

Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation (MIH) affects the permanent incisors and molars, whose under-mineralised matrix is evidenced as lesions range from white to yellow/brown opacities. Diagnosing the condition involves clinical and radiographic examination of these teeth, with some known limitations in determining the extent of the enamel defects. Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is an emerging hard and soft tissue imaging technique, which was investigated as an alternative diagnostic method in dentistry. A comparison between the diagnostic potential of the conventional methods and OCT was carried out.

Compared to conventional methods, OCT gave more information on the structure of the enamel defects as well as the extent of the defects into the depths of the enamel structure. The different types of enamel defects were also compared and each type presented a unique identifiable pattern when imaged using OCT. Additionally, advanced methods of OCT image analysis including back scattered light intensity profile analysis and en-face reconstruction were performed. Both methods confirmed the potential of OCT in enamel defects diagnosis. In conclusion, OCT imaging enabled the identification of the type of enamel defect and the determination of the extent of the enamel defects in MIH with the advantage of being a radiation free diagnostic technique.

Current data processing techniques are not yet versatile enough to allow this technology to be routinely used in a clinical setting, but it is not unconceivable to forecast optical coherence tomography (pending developments) could become a routine diagnostic tool for enamel defects. This is one the of the aims for future work by the authors.

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