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Optical approach to the salivary pellicle.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The salivary pellicle plays an important role in oral physiology, yet noninvasive in situ characterization and mapping of this layer remains elusive. The goal of this study is to develop an optical approach for the real-time, noninvasive mapping and characterization of salivary pellicles using optical coherence tomography (OCT) and optical coherence microscopy (OCM). The long-term goals are to improve diagnostic capabilities in the oral cavity, gain a better understanding of physiological and pathological processes related to the oral hard tissues, and monitor treatment responses. A salivary pellicle is incubated on small enamel cubes using human whole saliva. OCT and OCM imaging occurs at 0, 10, 30, 60 min, and 24 h. For some imaging, spherical gold nanoparticles (15 nm) are added to determine whether this would increase the optical signal from the pellicle. Multiphoton microscopy (MPM) provides the baseline information. In the saliva-incubated samples, a surface signal from the developing pellicle is visible in OCT images. Pellicle "islands" form, which increase in complexity over time until they merge to form a continuous layer over the enamel surface. Noninvasive, in situ time-based pellicle formation on the enamel surface is visualized and characterized using optical imaging.

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