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Dr. Cleghorn and colleagues awarded NIH grant

Posted by Marilyn Klein on April 20, 2012 in Research, Awards

Dr. Blaine Cleghorn and Dr. Ferne Kraglund of Dalhousie University's Department of Dental Clinical Sciences are members of a research team that has been awarded a grant from the US National Institutes of Health.

The team, led by Dr. Lin-P'ing Choo-Smith of the NRC Institute for BioDiagnostics in Winnipeg, was awarded $1.2 million for the continuation of a research study "Validating OCT and Raman spectroscopy for assessment of tooth de/remineralization."

Dr. Choo-Smith and colleagues are developing a probe that can be placed inside the mouth to assess individual teeth for early signs of caries (cavities). The device will use Optical Coherence Tomography (a form of "optical ultrasound" which gives images of the structure beneath the tooth surface) and Raman Spectroscopy (which uses light to measure the chemical structure of the tooth tissue).

The hope is that dentists will eventually be able to use the probe to detect caries in the earliest stages of formation - when the enamel of the tooth begins to dissolve (demineralize). The device may even be able to detect caries in the difficult to access areas between the teeth. The advantage of early detection is that it allows dentists to monitor and counsel patients on steps they can take to keep caries from progressing further.

Once the device is developed, clinical tests of the device will take place at the Dalhousie University Dental Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Cleghorn and Dr. Kraglund. It is expected that 200 patients will be involved in the study.