Dental restoration begins with removing carries and affected tissues with air-turbine rotary cutting handpieces, and later restoring the lost tissues with appropriate restorative materials to retain the functionality. Most restoration materials eventually fail as they age and need to be replaced. One of the difficulties in replacing failing restorations is discerning the boundary of restorative materials, which causes inadvertent removal of healthy tooth layers. Developing an objective and sensor-based method is a promising approach to monitor dental restorative operations and to prevent excessive tooth losses.
This paper has analyzed cutting sounds of an air-turbine handpiece to discriminate between tooth layers and two commonly used restorative materials, amalgam and composite. Support vector machines were employed for classification, and the averaged short-time Fourier transform coefficients were selected as the features. The classifier performance was evaluated from different aspects such as the number of features, feature scaling methods, classification schemes, and utilized kernels. The total classification accuracies were 89% and 92% for cases included composite and amalgam materials, respectively. The obtained results indicated the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed method.