Traditionally, cavities had to be identified through careful inspection by the dentist, or by taking dental x-rays to assess areas between the teeth or deep under the outer layer of enamel. If not diagnosed quickly, those cavities can rapidly spread deeper into the teeth and even jump to adjacent teeth. The larger the cavity is, the more complex it is to treat it. What if there were a way to find cavities long before they were visible on x-rays or through a clinical exam?
With laser cavity detection – you can! Using advanced sound wave and light technology, your dentist can identify changes in density of your tooth enamel. This is an indication that tooth demineralization and decay is beginning to take place. First, the laser is calibrated in several areas of healthy tooth enamel for a baseline reading. Then, the laser is scanned over areas including deep grooves and pits in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – areas that have a high risk of decay. As the digital readout changes, your dentist or hygienist can identify areas where the decay process may be starting. An audible alert may be noted on the machine if density changes are outside the parameters of a healthy range. If caught soon enough, an extremely small filling can be placed that will result in less tooth preparation. Or, the area can be sealed off completely to prevent the condition from advancing.
Laser decay detection doesn’t eliminate the need for important exams and x-rays, but it does help to preserve the integrity of your smile, keep your cost of care down, and limit the invasiveness of necessary treatments.
Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
In the past, cavities were always caught by your dentist seeing them clinically, feeling the tooth surface with a thin explorer, or by identifying enamel changes on X-Rays taken of the tooth. Now there’s a new way to catch cavities and well before they ever even cause symptoms or significant structural problems: the laser.
Laser decay detection uses light and sound waves to assess the density of your tooth enamel in areas of increased risk. Examples include the deep pits and fissures that are on the chewing surfaces of your teeth, or extend along the sides of back teeth. These areas are often so microscopic that even an exam tool or toothbrush bristle cannot enter into them. However, bacteria and cavities can!
The laser is calibrated along a strong, healthy area of your tooth and then placed over the pit or fissure to read the density using sound waves. Density readings that come back at a significantly different level will indicate that a cavity is beginning to destroy the enamel inside of the microscopic pit. Diagnosis at this level happens months before the cavity can develop into something large enough to be seen other ways.
These findings are significant for your teeth as well as your budget! When cavities are found in these smallest stages, the tooth can be repaired before other enamel has a chance to decay. Ultimately the filling is much less smaller and the tooth isn’t exposed to as much alternation, or it may only require a sealant. Some fillings can even be done without anesthesia!
Is your dentist using lasers to screen for cavities? The entire process takes only a few minutes. You’ll have to see it to believe it!
Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
Tooth decay creeps up on people when they least expect it, sometimes feeling as if it just happened overnight. Although cavities can form quickly given the circumstances, early diagnosis can catch them when they are very small. The earlier the decay is diagnosed, the more affordable and less invasive it is to treat it and prevent it, saving the affected tooth as well as adjacent teeth in the mouth. Traditionally, decay has been diagnosed through two different methods: x-rays and clinical examinations.
Now patients can have cavities found before they’re even visible to their dentist. Thanks to cutting edge technology such as the DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection system, dental patients can actually have the health and density of their tooth enamel checked by equipment that picks up on weak areas or small cavities before they’ve ever been able to be diagnosed using traditional methods.
To determine the actual density, the pen-shaped detector is calibrated along obviously healthy areas of tooth enamel. Then it is used to check the pits and fissures of the chewing surfaces – an area of the teeth that is often one of the first ones to develop cavities. A visible number can be seen to show what the density is, along with an audible alarm for unhealthy areas.
Why is this so important? Because it allows the preservation of as much healthy tooth enamel as possible. After all, nothing is better than healthy tooth enamel, even the very best restorations available. Teeth that are treated when these areas are very small mean that only slight alteration and restoration is needed, preventing the cavity from invading healthier structures around it or becoming a bigger problem later on.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Omar Damji, Executive Park Dentistry
The Diagnodent is one of the more established technological devices that came into use in dentistry several years ago. It uses sonic wave technology with sound and visual detection to screen for cavities in the surface of tooth enamel. Diagnodent laser cavity detection devices are able to find areas of possible tooth decay earlier than traditional clinical methods that are used. While dental x-rays screen for larger areas that have decayed between the teeth, Diagnodents look into the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces to find areas that are in the early stages of decalcification. They do not identify areas between the teeth, and most x-rays won’t identify week areas in the chewing surface because not enough demineralization has occurred.
Your clinician can use the diagnodent to screen for possible weak areas of enamel or decay before the dentist comes into the room for your exam. This helps shorten your appointment length and save you valuable time. Diagnodents are categorized as a laser-screening device and is approved by the American Dental Association and the Food and Drug Administration for screening decay. Early detection is key for prevention and minimally invasive treatment, allowing any positively identified decay to be treated while it is very small, saving the natural structure of your teeth. If the area is small enough a dental sealant may even be adequate for preventative treatment in lieu of a dental filling.
Diagnodent devices are over 90% accurate in screening for weakened tooth enamel. When your dentist uses a Diagnodent, you know that areas so microscopically small that even a toothbrush bristle won’t fit into them are being evaluated for their health and preventive intervention.
Posted on the behalf of Crabapple Dental
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