Abstract

A basic understanding of the light-scattering processes that take place inside the dental tissue (either sound or carious) is obtained both with measurements of the photon path-length distribution of light inside such media and with Monte Carlo simulations. Furthermore, the following is investigated: the correlations between different moments of the photon path-length distribution of light inside caries lesions, the fluorescence loss determined with quantitative light-induced fluorescence, and/or the demineralization and depth of caries lesions determined with transversal microradiography. It is concluded that (i) the light paths inside both carious and sound enamel are considerably influenced by the refractive-index contrast at the tooth surface; (ii) contrary to a previous hypothesis, the fluorescence loss is larger in lesions in which the average photon path length is longer; (iii) very good correlations are obtained between the optical characteristics and the physical parameters of lesions when the optical measurements are performed such that there is high refractive contrast at the tooth surface.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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