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Investigation of dental samples using a 35 mhz focussed ultrasound piezocomposite transducer

Hughes, D.A. and Girkin, J.M. and Poland, S.P. and Longbottom, C. and Button, T.W. and Elgoyhen, J. and Hughes, H. and Meggs, C. (2009) Investigation of dental samples using a 35 mhz focussed ultrasound piezocomposite transducer. Ultrasonics, 49 (2). pp. 212-218. ISSN 0041-624X

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Abstract

Dental erosion and decay are increasingly prevalent but as yet there is no quantitative monitoring tool. Such a tool would allow earlier diagnosis and treatment and ultimately the prevention of more serious disease and pain. Despite ultrasound having been demonstrated as a method of probing the internal structures of teeth more than 40 years ago, development of a clinical tool has been slow. The aim of the study reported here was to investigate the use of a novel high frequency ultrasound transducer and validate it using a known dental technique. A tooth extracted for clinical reasons was sectioned to provide a sample that contained an enamel and dentine layer such that the enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) was of a varying depth. The sample was then submerged in water and a B-scan recorded using a custom-designed piezocomposite ultrasound transducer with a centre frequency of 35 MHz and a −6 dB bandwidth of 24 MHz. The transducer has an axial resolution of 180 μm and a spatial resolution of 110 μm, a significant advance on previous work using lower frequencies. The depth of the EDJ was measured from the resulting data set and compared to measurements from the sequential grinding and imaging (SGI) method. The B-scan showed that the EDJ was of varying depth. Subsequently, the EDJ measurements were found to have a correlation of 0.89 (p < 0.01) against the SGI measurements. The results indicate that high frequency ultrasound is capable of measuring enamel thickness to an accuracy of within 10% of the total enamel thickness, whereas currently there is no clinical tool available to measure enamel thickness.