Caries lesion progression is difficult to determine with visual and tactile examinations. The hypothesis of this study was that reflection and roughness measurements could determine caries progression. Ground/polished sound human enamel specimens were analyzed at baseline (sound) and after two four-day demineralization periods for reflection using optical reflectometry (ORef) and for roughness using optical surface profilometry (SPro). Specimens were demineralized using a microbial- Streptococcus mutans caries model. Comparisons among the periods for ORef and SPro were performed using repeated measures analysis of variance. Two-sample t-Tests were used for differences in transverse microradiography. The integrated mineral loss and depth of the four-day demineralization period were significantly smaller than those for the eightday demineralization period (p<0.01). With increased demineralization time, reflection was significantly decreased and roughness was significantly increased (p<0.01). Correlation between ORef and SPro was moderate (r=-0.63). Both reflection and roughness can be characterized for nondestructive longitudinal assessment of caries lesion progression.
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