This study assessed the reproducibility of a red diode laser device, and its capability to detect dental calculus in vitro on human tooth root surfaces. On each of 50 extracted teeth, a calculus-positive and calculus-free root surface was evaluated by two independent examiners with a low-power indium gallium arsenide phosphide diode laser (DIAGNOdent) fitted with a periodontal probe-like sapphire tip and emitting visible red light at 655nm wavelength. Laser autofluorescence intensity readings of examined root surfaces were scored on a 0-99 scale, with duplicate assessments performed using the laser probe tip directed both perpendicular and parallel to evaluated tooth root surfaces. Pearson correlation coefficients of untransformed measurements, and kappa analysis of data dichotomized with a >40 autofluorescence intensity threshold, were calculated to assess intra- and inter-examiner reproducibility of the laser device. Mean autofluorescence intensity scores of calculus-positive and calculus-free root surfaces were evaluated with the Student's t-test. Excellent intra- and inter-examiner reproducibility was found for DIAGNOdent laser autofluorescence intensity measurements, with Pearson correlation coefficients above 94%, and kappa values ranging between 0.96 and 1.0, for duplicate readings taken with both laser probe tip orientations. Significantly higher autofluorescence intensity values were measured when the laser probe tip was directed perpendicular, rather than parallel, to tooth root surfaces. However, calculus-positive roots, particularly with calculus in markedly-raised ledges, yielded significantly greater mean DIAGNOdent laser autofluorescence intensity scores than calculus-free surfaces, regardless of probe tip orientation. DIAGNOdent autofluorescence intensity values >40 exhibited a stronger association with calculus (36.6 odds ratio) then measurements of ≥5 (20.1 odds ratio) when the laser probe tip was advanced parallel to root surfaces. Excellent intra- and inter-examiner reproducibility of autofluorescence intensity measurements was obtained with the DIAGNOdent laser fluorescence device on human tooth roots. Calculus-positive root surfaces exhibited significantly greater DIAGNOdent laser autofluorescence than calculus-free tooth roots, even with the laser probe tip directed parallel to root surfaces. These findings provide further in vitro validation of the potential utility of a DIAGNOdent laser fluorescence device for identifying dental calculus on human tooth root surfaces.

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