Frequently pulp vitality measurement is done in a dental practice by pressing a frozen cotton pellet on the tooth. This
method is subjective, as the patient´s response is required, sometimes painful and has moderate sensitivity and
specificity. Other methods, based on optical or electrical measurement have been published, but didn´t find wide spread
application in the dental offices.
Laser Doppler measurement of the blood flow in the pulp could be an objective method to measure pulp vitality, but the
influence of the gingival blood flow on the measurements is a concern. Therefore experiments and simulations were
done to learn more about the gingival blood flow in relation to the pulpal blood flow and how to minimize the influence.
First patient measurements were done to show the feasibility clinically.
Monte Carlo simulations and bench experiments simulating the blood flow in and around a tooth show that both basic
configurations, transmission and reflection measurements are possible. Most favorable is a multi-point measurement
with different distances from the gingiva. Preliminary sensitivity / specificity are promising and might allow an objective
and painless measurement of tooth vitality.
T. Ertl, T. Ertl,
"Laser Doppler pulp vitality measurements: simulation and measurement", Proc. SPIE 10044, Lasers in Dentistry XXIII, 100440F (8 February 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2257249; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2257249