Detection of early carious lesions using contrast enhancement with coherent light scattering (speckle imaging)
Currently, dental caries still represent one of the chronic diseases with the highest prevalence and present in most countries. The interaction between light and teeth (absorption, scattering and fluorescence) is intrinsically connected to the constitution of the dental tissue. Decay induced mineral loss introduces a shift in the optical properties of the affected tissue; therefore, study of these properties may produce novel techniques aimed at the early diagnosis of carious lesions. Based on the optical properties of the enamel, we demonstrate the application of first-order spatial statistics in laser speckle imaging, allowing the detection of carious lesions in their early stages. A highlight of this noninvasive, non-destructive, real time and cost effective approach is that it allows a dentist to detect a lesion even in the absence of biofilm or moisture.