Have you ever found a cavity on your own? How did you know? Was it the dark, stained spot? Perhaps it was sensitivity to temperature and sweets. At regular dental checkups, decay is often detected using the traditional methods of x-rays and clinical exploration with dental tools. There are newer technologies, however, which are enabling dentists to diagnose decay and treat it even sooner. This means that more preventative action can be taken and that restorative treatment will be less invasive.
Illumination techniques rely upon the natural tooth structure reflects and absorbs light. Tooth structure is altered by the presence of decay, so illumination can help reveal areas where a tooth may already be weakening from the effects of cavity-causing bacteria.
DIFOTI (Digital Imaging Fiber-Optic Trans-Illumination – a technique similar to that of x-ray technology, a bright light is used to illuminate the teeth and a computer translates areas of weakened tooth structure (indicative of early decay) as darkened spots. This technique does not require the use of radiation, as x-rays do.
Diagnodent – This device utilizes a non-destructive laser beam to determine whether any areas of the tooth have been damaged by bacteria. Healthy tooth structure will not reflect the laser back as fluorescent light, but diseased tooth will reflect more. The device will note these readings, and the readings can be used to monitor a tooth for changes and to determine when treatment is needed.
When coupled with traditional decay-detection techniques such as the clinical examination and x-rays, illumination techniques work wonders in finding decay so that treatment can be promptly provided. At your next appointment, ask your dentist about the state-of-the-art tools used to evaluate your decay risk and how they can help you lower your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
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