Preoperative evaluation of bone quality for dental implant therapy using laser induced breakdown spectroscopy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Salford
Department Name: Sch of Computing, Science & Engineering


The success of a tooth implant depends on the quality and structure of the jaw bone. Current bone evaluation methods are expensive, time consuming, have limited availability and can risk exposing the patient to harmful radiation. A possible, novel, approach to this problem would be the use of a laser-based analytical technology known as LIBS to determine whether implant treatment would be suitable for a particular patient. LIBS is a rapidly emerging technique and is successfully employed in tissue analysis and by forensic laboratories. The technique is relatively inexpensive and offers rapid in-situ measurements and diagnosis.

Technical Summary

The quality, density of bone and the three dimensional structure of a proposed dental implant site are influential factors in the long term success of dental implantation. To date, implantologists have relied on radiographs and computerised tomography to obtain information regarding the nature of the implant site. There are however several disadvantages associated these technologies, namely the high cost and the risk of radiation exposure.

The aim of this research is to evaluate the performance of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) as a potential replacement for current bone analysis technologies, prior to tooth implant.

LIBS is a powerful analytical tool capable of sampling a wide range of materials and possesses several attractive features which makes it suitable for modern dentistry; it is inexpensive, it may be conducted in-situ and can provide rapid, real-time analysis and diagnosis.

In this study, LIBS will be employed to analyse the mineral content of bone and these results will be compared with data yielded from conventional radiographic and computerised tomography techniques.


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Cowpe J (2011) Hardness determination of bio-ceramics using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy in Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy

Description Manchester Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk and presentation within a practical framework to school children, parents and the general public.

Invited each year to take part in the festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011
Description School Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Primary school children year 6 - general presentation and discussion followed by practical

Schools have asked for the presentation to be given to each year 6
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011