Three-Dimensional Analysis of Enamel Crack Behavior Using Optical Coherence Tomography

M. S. Segarra, Y. Shimada, A. Sadr, Y. Sumi, J. Tagami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to nondestructively analyze enamel crack behavior on different areas of teeth using 3D swept source-optical coherence tomography (SS-OCT). Ten freshly extracted human teeth of each type on each arch (n = 80 teeth) were inspected for enamel crack patterns on functional, contact and nonfunctional, or noncontact areas using 3D SS-OCT. The predominant crack pattern for each location on each specimen was noted and analyzed. The OCT observations were validated by direct observations of sectioned specimens under confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Cracks appeared as bright lines with SS-OCT, with 3 crack patterns identified: Type I - superficial horizontal cracks; Type II - vertically (occluso-gingival) oriented cracks; and Type III - hybrid or complicated cracks, a combination of a Type I and Type III cracks, which may or may not be confluent with each other. Type II cracks were predominant on noncontacting surfaces of incisors and canines and nonfunctional cusps of posterior teeth. Type I and III cracks were predominant on the contacting surfaces of incisors, cusps of canines, and functional cusps of posterior teeth. Cracks originating from the dental-enamel junction and enamel tufts, crack deflections, and the initiation of new cracks within the enamel (internal cracks) were observed as bright areas. CLSM observations corroborated the SS-OCT findings. We found that crack pattern, tooth type, and the location of the crack on the tooth exhibited a strong correlation. We show that the use of 3D SS-OCT permits for the nondestructive 3D imaging and analysis of enamel crack behavior in whole human teeth in vitro. 3D SS-OCT possesses potential for use in clinical studies for the analysis of enamel crack behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • fracture
  • imaging
  • lasers
  • monitoring
  • oral diagnosis
  • tooth location

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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