This paper describes the first application of a remote nondestructive laser ultrasonic (LU) system for clinical diagnosis of cracks in human teeth, to our knowledge. It performs non-contact cracks detection on small-dimension teeth samples. Two extracted teeth with different types of cracks (cracked tooth and craze lines), which have different crack depths, are used as experimental samples. A series of ultrasonic waves were generated by a scanning laser-line source technique and detected with a laser-Doppler vibrometer on the two samples. The B-scan images and peak-to-peak amplitude variation curves of surface acoustic waves were obtained for evaluating the cracks’ position and depth. The simulation results calculated by finite element method were combined with the experimental results for accurately measuring the depth of crack. The results demonstrate that this LU system has been successfully applied on crack evaluation of human teeth. And as a remote, nondestructive technique, it has great potential for early in vivo diagnosis of cracked tooth and even the future clinical dental tests.
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