New Infrared Imaging Method Allows Early Detection of Tooth Decay

Leading pediatric dentistry expert, Dr. Barry L. Jacobson, says that a new method allowing early detection of tooth decay uses long-wavelength infrared imaging.

Online PR News – 12-December-2016 – New York, NY – “Tooth decay is the most prevalent dental disease among children and adults worldwide,” says Dr. Barry L. Jacobson, DMD, FAAPD, a children's dentist in NYC and a world-renowned pediatric distist ( “If left untreated, the disease will lead to difficulty eating, infection, and even tooth loss.”

According to Dr. Jacobson, a new report, recently published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics, describes a method that enables early detection using inexpensive long-wavelength infrared imaging.

“A cavity begins with mineral loss from the tooth enamel surface, resulting from the acidic environment of dental plaques,” Dr. Jacobson explains. “When caries can be detected early enough, the progression can be stopped or even reversed.”

Pediatric dentists typically rely on two methods to detect early caries, according to Dr. Jacobson. These methods include x-ray imaging and visual inspection of the tooth surface. He admits that both have their limitations.

“Thermophotonic Lock-In Imaging, more commonly known as TPLI, is the next wave of early caries detection technology," says Dr. Jacobson. “Soon, pediatric dentists will be using a low-cost TPLI that will allow dentists to detect developing caries much earlier than x-rays or visual analysis.”

According to Dr. Jacobson, the TPLI tool uses a long-wavelength infrared camera to detect the small amount of thermal infrared radiation emitted from dental caries after stimulation by a light source.

To test the effectiveness of this new imaging tool, the researchers artificially induced early demineralization on an extracted human molar by submerging it in an acid solution for 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 days. The TPLI image taken after just 2 days clearly showed the presence of a lesion, whereas a trained dental practitioner could not visually detect the same lesion even after 10 days of demineralization.

"This research alone is going to impact the future of pediatric dentistry and how we will soon diagnose incipient caries,” Dr. Jacobson concludes. “TPLI technology is still relatively new, but this new report brings it closer than ever to actual clinical practice."

He says that TPLI has the benefit of being noncontact, noninvasive, and low-cost, and has great potential to become a commercially viable diagnostic imaging device for use in pediatric dentistry.

For 18 years, Dr. Barry L. Jacobson DMD, FAAPD, has been a leader in pediatric dental care. His practice, located at 949 Park Avenue, New York, NY, offers laser dentistry for children, cosmetic dentist for children, preoperative dental care for children, soft tissue procedures, 3D CAD-CAM crown fabrication, porcelain fillings, and treatment of fearful children, with behavior management experts on hand. Call 212-997-6453 (212-99-SMILE) for more information or visit Dr. Jacobson’s website at Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Treatment.

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