Dental Tips Blog


Laser Cavity Detection

Posted in Fillings

Laser screening devices enable your dentist to detect early stages of tooth decay before they become clinically visible. The ADA and FDA have both approved these devices for the use in screening dental decay in order to provide early, less-invasive treatment. This allows your dentist to place a smaller filling or restoration than if the decay were diagnosed at a later stage. In some cases, fillings may be so small that they do not require the use of local anesthesia or mechanical tooth preparation. Sometimes a sealant or air-abrasion restorative filling may be all that is needed.

DIAGNOdent is one type of laser cavity detection device. It is over 90% accurate and is able to detect weak areas in deep grooves and fissures of the teeth. Deep fissures are often one of the primary locations for tooth decay, but the decay often is not diagnosed or evident until it has expanded into a wider amount of surrounding tooth structure. Aids such as the DIAGNOdent allow the decay deep within grooves to be found while it is in the small beginning stages, before extensive tooth damage is even evident on x-rays. Using this type of device is more accurate than visual inspection, and is beneficial for use alongside of routine diagnostic x-rays. X-rays are still needed to screen for decay and disease between the teeth.

These devices use sound waves and light that are emitted into the tooth. If a weak area is present, the feedback is reflected back into the machine. If compromised structures are present, the device will emit a sound as well as display a numerical reading, signaling a weak area to the practitioner.

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