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MAGMA. 2009 Dec;22(6):365-74. doi: 10.1007/s10334-009-0188-9. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

High-resolution 3D magnetic resonance imaging and quantification of carious lesions and dental pulp in vivo.

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Department of Experimental Physics 5, University of Wuerzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Wuerzburg, Germany.



The purpose of the study was to assess the feasibility of MRI of three-dimensional visualization and quantification of carious lesions, as well as measurement of the distance between the lesion and dental pulp in vivo.


High-resolution 3D MRI was performed to measure seven carious lesions in vivo using gelatinous gadolinium-based oral contrast medium in combination with an intraoral radio frequency receiver coil on a clinical 1.5 T MRI scanner. Extension of the carious lesion in three spatial dimensions and the minimum distance between the lesion and dental pulp were quantified. When possible, the result was compared to an X-ray projection and an impression of the lesion taken using a plastic impression material before and after dental treatment.


Carious lesions, including pit and fissure, approximal lesions, and occult dentin caries, could be visualized due to the MRI signal rise in the porous affected dentin. The minimum distance between the carious lesion and dental pulp could be determined in all cases.


The results presented demonstrate the feasibility of high-resolution dental MRI to three-dimensionally visualize and quantify carious lesions, including approximal and occult caries lesions, and measure the minimum distance to the dental pulp.

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