A group of researchers and scientists at the Liverpool University, after about a decade or research, recently won an award for developing what they called the iDENTifi, a system that can detect early stages of plague, tiny and secondary cavities as a result of failing tooth filling, or those which occur on the biting surface of the teeth.
The device uses a Clinical SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Camera(SLR cameras are similar to the old cameras with single lens, no digital display, so you have to look through a viewfinder. They also have specially designed flash for up-close pictures), with a combination of special filters to take snap shots of the mouth under blue light. The uniqueness of the device comes in the application of Qualitative Light Induced Fluorescence (QLF) technology along with the SLR cameras. This produces a special image pattern that can be analyzed visually by dental professionals. The image pattern is based on fluorescence emission by the teeth after being exposed to a form of blue light, the fluorescent pattern are dependent on the chemical properties of the area being taken.
The system will eliminate the need for current systems which need to use dyes and discoloring agents to identify plague, while also being able to identify more dangerous plagues.
The system is designed in such a way that the resulting digital image produced can be sent to any device wirelessly, either a PC, or tablet.
The device proved to be more than just another research product that is destined to die on the shelves but its design and incorporation of cutting edge technology makes it practicable and marketable, especially in this age of tablet computers. This fact is evident in its winning the Medical Future Awards.
This project is again another example of collaboration between industry and the academia, being a synergy between the Liverpool University and the Inspektor Research Systems BV, a dental health care development company, although the idea originated at the university.
This is not just having fun with technology; this is solving a problem that is estimated to cost 45Million pounds in treatment annually.