|Professor Kim Baek-il|
Researchers at Severance Hospital have developed a safe and accurate dental cavity detection technology that uses visible light, the hospital said Tuesday.
The research team, led by Professor Kim Baek-il of the department of preventive dentistry at the hospital, decided to develop a new method after confirming a need for a new dental cavity test. Until now, doctors used radiography to confirm dental cavities in patients.
Through repeated studies to use harmless substances, the team concluded that quantitative light-induced fluorescence technology was the most viable option. The hospital then teamed up with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to conduct a clinical trial to confirm the safety and efficacy of the new method for two years.
Professor Kim separately evaluated the occlusal and abutment surfaces of the posterior teeth, which are difficult to examine for cavities.
As a result, in the sensitivity and specificity categories, which are used to determine if a diagnosis is accurate, the team confirmed that more than 80 percent of all quantitative optical fluorescence technologies are available for clinical use.
The ministry has certified the method as a new medical technology. The certification is meaningful as it is the only diagnostic test method among four dental-related cases that the government has given certifications as a new medical technology.
The hospital expects that through the new technology, the probability of treatment in the early stage of dental cavities will increase, which in turn will help patients preserve their natural tooth.
“In Korea, the percent of dental cavity experience in 12-year-old children is 54.6 percent,” Professor Kim said. “Although experience rates have declined, the dental cavity is a common disease as more than half of 12-year-olds have it.”
As it is impossible to recover back to natural teeth once the restoration treatment is done, it is essential to preserve the tooth structure before the cavity does any damage, Kim added.