Assessment of structural changes of human teeth by low-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)

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Measurement Science and Technology


A technique of low-field pulsed proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spin relaxation is described for assessment of age-related structural changes (dentin and pulp) of human teeth in vitro. The technique involves spin-spin relaxation measurement and inversion spin-spin spectral analysis methods. The spin-spin relaxation decay curve is converted into a T2 distribution spectrum by a sum of single exponential decays. The NMR spectra from the extracted dentin-portion-only and dental pulp-cells-only were compared with the whole extracted teeth spectra, for the dentin and pulp peak assignments. While dentin and pulp are highly significant parameters in determining tooth quality, variations in these parameters with age can be used as an effective tool for estimating tooth quality. Here we propose an NMR calibration method - the ratio of the amount of dentin to the amount of pulp obtained from NMR T2 distribution spectra can be used for measuring the age-related structural changes in teeth while eliminating any variations in size of teeth. Eight teeth (third molars) extracted from humans, aged among 17-67 years old, were tested in this study. It is found that the intensity ratio of dentin to pulp sensitively changes from 0.48 to 3.2 approaching a linear growth with age. This indicates that age-related structural changes in human teeth can be detected using the low-field NMR technique. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.



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