Developing Optical Coherence Tomography for the Quantitative Study of Erosive and Carious Lesions in Dental Enamel in vitro
MetadataShow full item record
Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is an imaging technique that uses near infra-red light to non-invasively form cross-sectional images of specimens, in a similar way to ultrasound and RADAR. A number of research groups have used OCT to study natural and artificial carious lesions and to some extent erosive lesions. For this, a variety of in vitro models have been used. However, the exact mechanism by which these demineralised enamel lesions affect the OCT measurements is not fully understood. This remains a barrier to its adoption as both an analytical laboratory tool and a widespread technique in clinical dentistry. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to develop an understanding of how different demineralised enamel lesions manifest in OCT measurements. This is necessary for the technique to become useful as an in vivo clinical measurement and imaging system. Consequently, this study was carried out in a controlled laboratory environment for which a novel specimen holder was designed. This mitigated against specimen movement and maintained specimen hydration, which can be a source of uncertainty in the measurements. A custom-built OCT microscope was used for this work, which enabled automation of experiments and continuous time-lapse OCT imaging over time periods of hours to several days. This enabled bovine enamel demineralisation dynamics to be captured during in vitro caries and erosion formation. The stability of the system also enabled direct comparison between the OCT measurements of the optical properties of different demineralisation models. To achieve these measurements, the OCT system was carefully characterised and compared to established profilometry measurements. Interestingly, this revealed that the experimental protocol used to obtain lesions for profilometry was not to be representative of the lesions formed and measured by OCT. This is an important point when interpreting OCT data in light of other techniques. A novel method of analysis was developed that uses longitudinal OCT image correlation to quantify early stage surface softening during erosion. By using OCT volumetric data, this technique was able to measure sub-resolution changes at the specimen surface. Early results also indicate sensitivity to remineralisation. This thesis shows that OCT is sensitive to different demineralisation models produced and measured under controlled conditions. New method of handling the data can observe changes not previously seen in OCT. However, further work is still required to understand the underlying physical changes that lead to this sensitivity in OCT.
- Theses