Quantitative Evaluation of Caries and Calculus with Ultrahigh-Resolution Optical Coherence Tomography

Tai Ang Wang, Nguyễn Hoàng Trung, Hsiang Chieh Lee, Cheng Kuang Lee, Meng Tsan Tsai*, Yen Li Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Dental caries on the crown’s surface is caused by the interaction of bacteria and carbohydrates, which then gradually alter the tooth’s structure. In addition, calculus is the root of periodontal disease. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been considered to be a promising tool for identifying dental caries; however, diagnosing dental caries in the early stage still remains challenging. In this study, we proposed an ultrahigh-resolution OCT (UHR-OCT) system with axial and transverse resolutions of 2.6 and 1.8 μm for differentiating the early-stage dental caries and calculus. The same teeth were also scanned by a conventional spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT) system with an axial resolution of 7 μm. The results indicated that early-stage carious structures such as small cavities can be observed using UHR-OCT; however, the SD-OCT system with a lower resolution had difficulty identifying it. Moreover, the estimated surface roughness and the scattering coefficient of enamel were proposed for quantitatively differentiating the different stages of caries. Furthermore, the thickness of the calculus can be estimated from the UHR-OCT results. The results have demonstrated that UHR-OCT can detect caries and calculus in their early stages, showing that the proposed method for the quantitative evaluation of caries and calculus is potentially promising.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1317
Issue number11
StatePublished - 15 11 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • calculus
  • caries
  • optical coherence tomography
  • roughness
  • scattering


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