Other method used for caries detection is based on optical properties from sound and carious dental tissues.
Fluorescence is a phenomenon where the light is absorbed in a specific wavelength and then emitted in a higher wavelength. This characteristic has been observed in the dental tissues, since the pattern of light absorption and reemission (spectrum of fluorescence) of the dental tissues varies according to the excitation light wavelength (Benedict, 1928). Thus, light absorption and reemission is different in the enamel, dentin and cementum, as well as in sound and carious tissues. For this reason, fluorescence can be used for the detection and subsequent diagnosis of dental caries.
The natural fluorescence of hard dental tissues has been studied since long time ago. It is well known that as the enamel as the dentin shows an auto-fluorescence. In this way, caries lesions, dental plaque and microorganisms also show fluorescent components. It has been observed that the difference between natural fluorescence of sound and carious dental tissues can be quantified using light-emitting devices, such as laser, xenon or LED.
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