Researchers at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with dental health care developers Inspektor Research Systems BV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, have developed iDENTifi, a clinical digital camera designed to identify early tooth decay and plaque.

The camera incorporates qualitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF) technology, taking images of the mouth using blue light and special filters to show early stage plaque, tiny cavities, secondary cavities, and cavities that can occur on the smooth surfaces of teeth. Additionally, the camera can identify more mature and potentially damaging plaque without the use of dyes or disclosing agents.

The device can also highlight plaque left behind after cleaning by orthodontic patients—identifying such plaque is often difficult with orthodontic appliances in the mouth.

Images can be transferred using wireless technology to a computer, iPad, or smartphone for immediate assessment.

Currently, iDENTifi is being used in clinical trials and is expected launch in summer 2012.

The researchers recently received a Medical Futures Award for the device.

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