A hand-held, fiber optic based dental device with optical coherence domain reflectometry (OCDR) sensing capabilities provides a profile of optical scattering as a function of depth in the tissue at the point where the tip of the dental explorer touches the tissue. This system provides information on the internal structure of the dental tissue, which is then used to detect caries and periodontal disease. A series of profiles of optical scattering or tissue microstructure are generated by moving the explorer across the tooth or other tissue. The profiles are combined to form a cross-sectional, or optical coherence tomography (OCT), image.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.