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Monogr Oral Sci. 2000;17:32-55.

Imaging of the oral cavity using optical coherence tomography.

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  • 1Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Calif., USA.


Optical coherence tomography is a new method for noninvasively imaging internal tooth and soft tissue microstructure. The intensity of backscattered light is measured as a function of depth in the tissue. Low coherence interferometry is used to selectively remove the component of backscattered signal that has undergone multiple scattering events, resulting in very high resolution images (< 15 microns). Lateral scanning of the probe beam across the biological tissue is then used to generate a 2-D intensity plot, similar to ultrasound images. This imaging method provides information that is currently unobtainable by any other means, making possible such diverse applications as diagnosis of periodontal disease, caries detection, and evaluation of restoration integrity. This chapter presents an overview of this exciting new imaging technique and its current application to dental diagnosis.

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