• Caries;
  • Diagnosis;
  • Fluorescence laser;
  • Poland;
  • Syria


In many odontological studies concerning archeological material, there is no analysis of early caries lesions (caries incipiens) that manifest as a carious spot. At this stage of caries, the enamel is still hard, and thus, it is impossible to diagnose caries by visual methods. We assessed the usefulness of the DIAGNODent pen (DD laser) in analyzing noncavity lesions on the smooth surface sites of crowns from historical populations. Twenty-seven individuals were examined: 18 from Radom (Poland), and nine from Tell Masaikh and Terqa (Syria). A total of 562 teeth were characterized. The series represented different climatic zones, but were dated from the similar period, 18th to 19th century AD. We used four diagnostic techniques: visual, DD laser, radiographic, and histological as the gold standard. DD laser showed that the mean values of healthy enamel in both series did not exceed 15 units. The mean values of smooth and rough spots in the Syrian population were significantly higher than those from Poland. This study showed that all the noncarious spots from the Radom series did not exceed 30 units. In the Syrian samples, this limit was higher at 44 units. These results were confirmed by histology and radiography. The DD laser provided good results in detecting dentine carious lesions in historical material, but its efficiency in diagnosing early caries (caries incipiens) remains uncertain based on the presented series. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.