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Mechanics behind 4-D interferometric measurement of biofilm mediated tooth decay



Michael S. Waters, Bin (. Yang, Nancy J. Lin, Sheng Lin-Gibson


Evaluating the efficacy of dental materials to protect human teeth requires the capacity to measure tooth accurately and precisely decay. Current practices for determining tooth decay are destructive, qualitative to lowly quantitative, and/or measure bulk changes that have low to no spatial resolution. The combination of the highly variable nature of tooth enamel and the inability to perform serial analyses on the same spatial location limits the capacity to access reproducible information from any experimental set. This study explores the potential of interferometric optical profilometry to make rapid precision spatial measurements in 3- dimensions (3-D) over time (4-D) of human tooth enamel decay as a complementary measurement to existing techniques. In this study, using bioinert 3-D alignment translation stages, human tooth decay was measured with respect to pathogenic dental bacterial biofilms. These investigations demonstrate the ability to quantitatively determine the rate of tooth decay in previously unseen spatial and temporal scales. These new, rapid, low-cost techniques minimize effort for sample preparation and use very few consumables, opening the feasibility for highthroughput investigations of clinical dental materials to a wider international community.
Conference Dates
June 13-15, 2011
Conference Location
Uncasville, CT
Conference Title
Society for Experimental Mechanics


Waters, M. , Yang, B. , Lin, N. and Lin-Gibson, S. (2011), Mechanics behind 4-D interferometric measurement of biofilm mediated tooth decay, Society for Experimental Mechanics, Uncasville, CT, [online], (Accessed June 22, 2024)


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Created May 16, 2011, Updated November 10, 2018