Professor Dr. Daniel Fried of the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry recently made advances in laser and light-based imaging technologies. This could mean great changes in the world of modern dentistry.
During a lecture, Dr. Fried begins by explaining that tooth enamel is pretty much transparent when shown through longer wavelengths. This makes it possible to show dental decay developing inside the tooth. This allows dentists and hygienists to inspect the interior of a tooth, leading better diagnosis. This light-based imaging is also known to be more minimally invasive than X-ray.
Along with Fried’s research on near-infrared imaging, he is analyzing optical coherence tomography (OCT) which, similarly to an ultrasound, shows dental cross-sections and can create deep tooth images. OCT is capable of imaging through composites and sealant and is useful for assessing internal lesion severity. Dr. Fried explains, “With nonsurgical intervention, you can treat [the tooth] with fluoride and re-mineralize lesions…That’s important for assessing lesion activity”.
To round out his lecture, Dr. Fried described his research into lasers, the kind of lasers that can selectively remove cavities. As Fried explains, these infrared lasers scan a tooth surface and release tiny, fast pulses to remove decay selectively without impacting the tooth structure.
In his trilogy of dental advancement, he explains each tool can be used to complement each other. First, the near infrared image is taken, then, a high-speed laser scans the tooth to remove decay, and the OCT scan checks how much is removed. The masterful combination of these light-based technologies can lead to early detection of decay and much more!
See the full article/lecture here.