Diagnosis of dental caries using Quantitative Light-induced Fluorescence

Bennett T. Amaechi, Susan M. Higham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Current dental diagnostic methods can detect caries but cannot quantify the mineral status of the lesion. Quantitative Light-induced Fluorescence (QLF) measures the percentage fluorescence radiance change of demineralised enamel with respect to surrounding sound enamel, and relates it directly to the amount of mineral lost during demineralisation. Demineralisation of teeth to produce caries-like lesions and the subsequent remineralisation of the lesions were monitored quantitatively and longitudinally with QLF. The influence of factors such as presence of plaque or saliva, lesion staining, lesion magnification, tooth thickness and developmental hypomineralisation, on the reproducibility of QLF imaging and analysis were investigated. Results showed that the integrated fluorescence change (hence the mineral loss) increased linearly with demineralisation time and decreased with increasing remineralisation time. Caries detection was limited by saliva or plaque, but enhanced by staining. QLF could not discriminate between developmental hypomineralisation and caries. Neither the variation in tooth thickness nor lesion magnification within the limit of a sharp image made a significant difference in QLF analysis. It was concluded that QLF could detect and quantitatively monitor the mineral changes in an incipient caries on a longitudinal basis, however detection may be limited by the presence of saliva or plaque and enhanced by staining.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial saliva
  • Caries diagnosis
  • Caries quantification
  • Demineralising solution
  • Dental caries
  • Hypomineralisation
  • Optical devices
  • Optical methods
  • Quantitative light-induced fluorescence
  • White spot lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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