Measurement of the refractive index of human teeth by optical coherence tomography.
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We describe a novel method based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the accurate measurement of the refractive index of in vitro human teeth. We obtain the refractive indices of enamel, dentin, and cementum to be 1.631+/-0.007, 1.540+/-0.013, and 1.582+/-0.010, respectively. The profile of the refractive index is readily obtained via an OCT B scan across a tooth. This method can be used to study the refractive index changes caused by dental decay and therefore has great potential for the clinical diagnosis of early dental caries.