Nonintrusive, noncontacting frequency-domain photothermal radiometry (FD-PTR or PTR) and frequency-domain luminescence (FD-LUM or LUM) have been used with 659-nm and 830-nm laser sources to detect artificial and natural subsurface defects in human teeth. The major findings of this study are (1) PTR is sensitive to very deep (>5 mm) defects at low modulation frequencies (5 Hz). Both PTR and LUM amplitudes exhibit a peak at tooth thicknesses of ca. 1.4 to 2.7 mm. Furthermore, the LUM amplitude exhibits a small trough at ca. 2.5 to 3.5 mm. (2) PTR is sensitive to various defects such as a deep carious lesion, a demineralized area, an edge, a crack, and a surface stain, while LUM exhibits low sensitivity and spatial resolution. (3) PTR frequency scans over the surface of a fissure into demineralized enamel and dentin show higher amplitude than those for healthy teeth, as well as a pronounced curvature in both the amplitude and phase signal channels. These can be excellent markers for the diagnosis of subsurface carious lesions. (4) PTR amplitude frequency scans over the surface of enamels of variable thickness exhibit strong thickness dependence, thus establishing depth profilometric sensitivity to subsurface interfaces such as the dentin/enamel junction.