Laser Cavity Detection
Traditionally, dentists would “poke” patient’s teeth with a sharp metal instrument called and explorer in order to find tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of the tooth. Because decay causes the enamel or hard surface of the tooth to soften and break-down, the metal explorer would stick in the tooth indicating to the dentist that decay was present.
Tooth decay begins when bacteria enter the tooth through a very small break in the enamel. After the decay enters the tooth, it begins to erode the inside of the tooth. Typically the initial break in the tooth enamel is so microscopic that it cannot be detected by the human eye or even the metal explorer. Because the metal explorer’s of the past could not detect decay in its earliest form, the treatment of decay was slightly more aggressive than it is today.
With laser technology, we are now able to detect and treat decay in its earliest form. The laser that we use is called the KaVo Diagnodent. The Diagnodent is an instrument that uses laser fluoroscopy to scan teeth and detect those microscopic breaks in tooth enamel that can lead to advanced tooth decay. (see Image, the Laser [right] vs. Traditional Metal Explorer [left]).
Early detection is best with any disease. Because tooth decay is a disease, the diagnodent allows us to detect and treat decay before it reaches the advanced stages. If tooth decay is found early, restorations to the tooth are much more conservative and allow you to keep as much of your own natural, healthy tooth structure as possible. Laser cavity detection is just one of the ways we can help you to maintain a happy and healthy smile.