Even the tiniest spot of decay can mean trouble for your teeth. That is why we take such care to identify and fill cavities: it is the key to preventing all kinds of trouble down the road. In the past, diligent decay identification has required lengthy poking and prodding sessions. Unfortunately, even the best of such methods of decay detection are only 50% to 75% successful. Cavities can hide along fissure lines, or inside biting or occlusal surfaces. We have recently invested in Diagnodent, a revolutionary new means of detecting cavities that keeps your exam fast, painless, easy and nearly imperceptible, while giving us incredibly accurate and thorough information.
Reflection and Revelation
Diagnodent technology inspects your teeth using a simple laser diode, comparing reflection wavelength to a known healthy baseline wavelength, thus uncovering decay. The process is simple. First, we direct the laser onto a healthy enamel tooth surface to provide the benchmark reading. Then, we move the diode around your mouth, shining the laser into all suspect areas. As the laser pulses into grooves, fissures and cracks, it reflects a specific wavelength of fluorescent light. At the same time, this light is measured by receptors, converted to an acoustic signal, evaluated electronically to reveal a value between one and 100, then displayed on a screen. Whenever the laser encounters a discrepancy between a tooth surface and the healthy baseline value, it stimulates emission of a different fluorescent light wavelength. A reading of 10-25 indicates that there has been some enamel softening, pointing to a potential problem area that merits close monitoring or need to have a sealant placed.. A reading of 26-100 indicates an area of decay requiring a restoration.
A Timely Tool
The Diagnodent gives us a simple and comfortable tool for detecting decay with more thoroughness, timeliness, and accuracy. Not only does it help prevent the spread of decay, but it helps us to treat your teeth more conservatively as well. When we spot decay sooner, the necessary restorations are typically smaller and shallower, preserving more of the tooth.