Microbial biofilms are complex multi-layered communities of bacteria and fungi which cause a range of oral and other diseases. Efficient detection of biofilms is important for the clinical management of diseases they cause and for providing an endpoint to clinical treatments. For bacterial biofilms, bacterial metabolites such as porphyrins are important molecules for diagnostic purposes, since they fluoresce in the red and infrared regions of the spectrum. Fluorescence is a versatile and powerful diagnostic approach for detection of bacterial biofilms, particularly in dentistry. This chapter provides an overview of fluorescence spectroscopic methods for detection and analysis of biofilms and their derivatives such as deposits of dental calculus and how current technology can be extended using photon-counting detectors. Fluorescence can be used to help discriminate these from healthy tissues. The approaches described have broad applications to clinical and industrial situations where non-invasive detection of microbial biofilms is important.
Part of the book: Photon Counting