Abstract

The objective is to differentiate noncavitated caries enamel through time-resolved fluorescence and to find excitation and emission parameters that can be applied in future clinical practice for detection of caries lesions that are not clearly visible to the professional. Sixteen human teeth with noncavitiated white-spot caries were selected for this work. Fluorescence intensity decay was measured by using an apparatus based on the time-correlated single-photon counting method. An optical fiber bundle was employed for sample excitation (440nm), and the fluorescence collected by the same bundle (500nm) was registered. The average lifetime for sound enamel was 7.93±0.09, 2.46±0.04, and 0.51±0.02ns, whereas for the carious enamel the lifetimes were 4.84±0.06, 1.35±0.02, and 0.16±0.01ns. It was concluded that it is possible to differentiate between carious and sound regions by time-resolved fluorescence and that, although the origin of enamel fluorescence is still uncertain, the lifetime values seem to be typical of fluorophores like collagen I.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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