Over the last decades, the relationship between the extent of caries in teeth and electrical resistance has been investigated. It is possible to assess caries lesions considering the various parameters affecting the electrical measurements of teeth, such as porosity, surface area of the contact "electrode", the thickness of the enamel and dentin tissues, hydration of the enamel, temperature, ionic content of the dental tissue fluids, and the maturation time of the tooth in the oral environment (Neuhaus et al., 2009).
The studies on electrical caries monitor device (ECM) (Figure 12) have assessed these parameters in a "site-specific" or "surface specific" mode. This method has shown different results of reproducibility and validity (Huysmans et al., 2005; Kuhnisch et al., 2006). Some in vitro studies indicated that the presence of stain is a confounder for ECM measurements. Besides, the different cut-off limits for enamel and dentin caries lesions may be needed for stained teeth (Cortes et al., 2003; Ellwood & Cortes, 2004). Therefore, its indication in the clinical practice is still uncertain. Further in vivo studies are necessary in order to make this technology useful in the practice.
Fig. 12. Electrical caries monitor (ECM)
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