Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Dentistry
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 270729, 9 pages
Review Article

Caries Detection Methods Based on Changes in Optical Properties between Healthy and Carious Tissue

Division of Cariology, Department of Dental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 4064, 141 04 Huddinge, Sweden

Received 29 October 2009; Accepted 4 February 2010

Academic Editor: Alexandre R. Vieira

Copyright © 2010 Lena Karlsson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A conservative, noninvasive or minimally invasive approach to clinical management of dental caries requires diagnostic techniques capable of detecting and quantifying lesions at an early stage, when progression can be arrested or reversed. Objective evidence of initiation of the disease can be detected in the form of distinct changes in the optical properties of the affected tooth structure. Caries detection methods based on changes in a specific optical property are collectively referred to as optically based methods. This paper presents a simple overview of the feasibility of three such technologies for quantitative or semiquantitative assessment of caries lesions. Two of the techniques are well-established: quantitative light-induced fluorescence, which is used primarily in caries research, and laser-induced fluorescence, a commercially available method used in clinical dental practice. The third technique, based on near-infrared transillumination of dental enamel is in the developmental stages.