Effectiveness of Fluorescence-based Methods in Monitoring Progression of Noncavitated Caries-like Lesions on Smooth Surfaces
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Although there has been a significant decrease in caries prevalence in developed countries, the slower progression of dental caries requires methods capable of detecting and quantifying lesions at an early stage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of fluorescence-based methods (DI-AGNOdent 2095 laser fluorescence device [LF], DIAGNOdent 2190 pen [LFpen], and VistaProof fluorescence camera [FC]) in monitoring the progression of noncavitated caries-like lesions on smooth surfaces. Caries-like lesions were developed in 60 blocks of bovine enamel using a bacterial model of Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Enamel blocks were evaluated by two independent examiners at baseline (phase I), after the first cariogenic challenge (eight days) (phase II), and after the second cariogenic challenge (a further eight days) (phase III) by two independent examiners using the LF, LFpen, and FC. Blocks were submitted to surface microhardness (SMH) and cross-sectional microhardness analyses. The intraclass correlation coefficient for intra- and inter-examiner reproducibility ranged from 0.49 (FC) to 0.94 (LF/LFpen). SMH values decreased and fluorescence values increased significantly among the three phases. Higher values for sensitivity, specificity, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve were observed for FC (phase II) and LFpen (phase III). A significant correlation was found between fluorescence values and SMH in all phases and integrated loss of surface hardness (DKHN) in phase III. In conclusion, fluorescence-based methods were effective in monitoring noncavitated caries-like lesions on smooth surfaces, with moderate correlation with SMH, allowing differentiation between sound and demineralized enamel.