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Minerva Dental and Oral Science 2021 May 14

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-6329.21.04527-7


lingua: Inglese

A comparison of near-infrared imaging with other diagnostic tools for dental caries

Valeria VANELLA 1, 2, Raffaella CASTAGNOLA 1, 2 , Luca MARIGO 1, 2, Nicola M. GRANDE 1, 2, Gianluca PLOTINO 3

1 Dipartimento di Conservativa ed Endodonzia, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy; 2 Istituto di Odontoiatria e Chirurgia Maxillo-facciale, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; 3 Private Practice, Rome, Italy


Dental caries is one of the most common diseases in the world, and global incidence rates are increasing. The early detection of dental lesions enables a conservative approach to be employed and represents a priority in modern dentistry. Recent studies have suggested that conventional diagnostic methods, such as visual tactile inspection and X-ray examination, exhibit low sensitivity and are not very effective in early diagnoses. Consequently, late detection of decay is associated with an increased loss of tooth structure. New diagnostic systems based on optical properties have been developed to facilitate early detection. Several studies have evaluated the performance of near-infrared imaging (NIRI) as an early diagnostic tool. NIRI using light ranging from 700 to 1700 nm has demonstrated better optical properties compared to conventional optical systems using light in the visible spectra. NIRI enables deeper penetration of the light in the tooth tissue, weak scattering with lower background noise and strong photon absorption with detailed images. Several in vivo studies have demonstrated that NIRI technology has the potential to improve performance compared with current diagnostic methods. NIRI exhibits increased sensitivity compared to radiographs and is more suitable to identify approximal enamel lesions. This paper aims to review these recent advances and their potential applications in daily clinical practice.

KEY WORDS: Dentin; Enamel; Prevention; Radiography; Restorative dentistry

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