Detection of in vitro demineralization adjacent to restorations using quantitative light induced fluorescence (QLF)

I. A. Pretty, P. W. Smith, W. M. Edgar, S. M. Higham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Aim. Quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF) is a technique for the detection, quantification, and longitudinal monitoring of early carious lesions. The technique is non-destructive and can be used in vivo. Using the natural fluorescence of teeth, and the loss of such fluorescence in demineralized enamel, QLF is a repeatable and valid optical caries monitor. Previously used in smooth and occlusal surfaces, the purpose of this pilot study was to determine if QLF could detect, and longitudinally monitor, demineralization adjacent to a range of restorative materials. Method. Fifteen previously extracted lower third molars were selected based upon the lack of any visible demineralization. A single burr hole was placed on the buccal surface and the cavity restored with amalgam, composite, compomer, glass ionomer or a temporary filling material. The buccal surface was then coated in an acid resistant nail varnish leaving an exposed area around the restoration and also a similar sized control region. The teeth had QLF images taken at baseline and were then subjected to a demineralizing buffer, further QLF images were subsequently taken at 72 and 144 h. Transverse microradiography was used to confirm the presence of early, subsurface lesions at the completion of the cycle (144 h). QLF images were analyzed by a single blinded examiner and values for change in radiance fluorescence were computed. These values were recorded as loss of radiance fluorescence loss integrated over area of lesion and expressed as ΔQ. Results. The appearance of each material under QLF and the change in fluorescence is described. Amalgam, glass ionomer and the temporary material all exhibited reduced fluorescence, while composite and compomer showed increased fluorescence, when compared with surrounding enamel. There was no change in fluorescence of the materials when subjected to experimental demineralizing conditions. Readings at 72 and 144 h demonstrated demineralization adjacent to the restorations and at the exposed control. Significant differences were detected between baseline, 72 and 144 h using ANOVA on all restorations with the exception of compomer where significance was noted between baseline and 144 h, p > 0.05. Conclusion. This pilot study has demonstrated the ability for QLF to detect and monitor secondary caries. Analysis techniques should be based upon the subtraction of baseline ΔQ scores from subsequent images. Further research is required to assess the ability of QLF to detect secondary lesions in vivo. © 2003 Academy of Dental Materials. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)368-374
    Number of pages6
    JournalDental Materials
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


    • Detection
    • Enamel
    • QLF
    • Restoration
    • Secondary caries


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