Digital reconstruction of teeth using near-infrared light

Keith Angelino, Yauney G, Rana A, Muftu A, Edlund D, Shah P*


Cone beam computed tomography has demonstrated value by offering enhanced conceptualization of features of teeth in the 3D space. However, these systems require higher effective radiation doses to image teeth. Previous research from our group has used non-ionizing near-infrared (NIR) light for diagnosing demineralization and caries in human tooth enamel. However, use of safe NIR radiation for rapid, 3D imaging of tooth anatomy has not been described previously. Here we describe a optical setup to rapidly laser scan teeth ex vivo using 1310nm NIR laser diode. We also detail a novel process that uses laser scanning to create stacks of images of extracted teeth, and construct highly accurate 3D models. Our 3D reconstructive models offer promising starting points to recover anatomical details using pixel intensities within these images as projection data to diagnose carious lesions, and can assist in providing rapid and affordable technology-enabled early caries screenings to patients.

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