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Infrared Imaging Methods for the Detection and Diagnosis of cavities

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Daniel Fried,
Award Cycle: 2018 (Cycle 27) Grant #: 27IP-0015 Award: $496,112
Subject Area: Oral Disease and Dental Health
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract

Several studies have established a strong link between tobacco use and cavities on the root surfaces of teeth. In addition, root cavities are a problem of increasing importance with our aging population and our ability to maintain teeth for the elderly.  New imaging technologies are needed for the early diagnosis of these cavities.  It is not sufficient to simply detect cavities; methods are needed to assess cavity depth, structural composition and activity to determine if chemical intervention has the potential to be effective and if remineralization (repair) has occurred. Cavities can be active and progressing and need intervention or they can be arrested (halted) due to remineralization and do not require further treatment.  The goal of these studies is to show that infrared optical imaging methods can be used to quantify structural differences between active cavities and arrested cavities to improve their management. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a new imaging tool that can acquire 3D images of root cavities in the mouth. OCT is well suited for detecting structural differences in active and arrested cavities and for resolving dimensional changes in cavities such as shrinkage.  Another method of determining the activity of root cavities is to use thermal imaging to measure the temperature of the cavity as it is dried with air.Laboratory studies have demonstrated that thermal imaging can discriminate between active and arrested root cavities. In the second year of the study, the feasibility of employing OCT and thermal imaging to assess the activity of cavities in the mouth will be determined in a pilot study on thirty test subjects with suspected root cavities.   In addition to providing new more effective clinical instrumentation for the detection and diagnosis of cavities on root surfaces, success in this proposal will introduce new methods for the assessment of the activity of cavities and for monitoring the efficacy of remineralization therapy. This will improve the management of root cavities and increase our understanding of cavity progression.  Key results from this work will be disseminated to the academic community, policy makers and the general public as appropriate.