Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging tool based on the detection of protons into the tissues. This imaging technique is remarkable because of high spatial resolution, strong soft tissue contrast and specificity, and good depth penetration. However, MR imaging of hard tissues, such as bone and teeth, remains challenging due to low proton content in such tissues as well as to very short transverse relaxation times (T2). To overcome these issues, new MRI techniques, such as sweep imaging with Fourier transformation (SWIFT), ultrashort echo time (UTE) imaging, and zero echo time (ZTE) imaging, have been developed for hard tissues imaging with promising results reported. Within this article, MRI techniques developed for the detection of hard tissues, such as bone and dental tissues, have been reviewed. The main goal was thus to give a comprehensive overview on the corresponding (pre-) clinical applications and on the potential future directions with such techniques applied. In addition, a section dedicated to MR imaging of novel biomaterials developed for hard tissue applications was given as well.
Keywords: Biomaterials; Bone; Teeth; Ultrashort Echo Time MRI.