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Laser Cavity Detection – Better Even Than Your Mom’s Dentist!

The cavity detecting wand is about the same size as a pen!

Some cavities are obvious some are not, but in all cases, it is best to find cavities when they are small and easily treated.  Laser cavity detection may not have been around for your Mom’s dentist, but it is here now!  Cavities, as most people know, are soft or rotten parts of your teeth that require professional treatment so that they do not continue to grow.

Is there decay in this tooth? The laser cavity detection says YES! Your Mom’s dentist and dental x-rays alone would have said no.

The stained areas in the tooth shown here may look like obvious cavities.  They were not soft to pressure.  This is and a very good situation to test with laser cavity detection.  There was no decay! We note the readings obtained with the laser.   We can then compare these readings when you return for other visits and we test the area again.

Testing your teeth with a laser is painless.  We scan the laser over your tooth and see a digital readout of any changes in the density of the tooth below the surface.  Our laser also gives an audible tone that starts when there is a significant density change and increases when the change becomes more significant.  There is a low level where it is okay to continue to “watch” for further changes over time, and a level where the appropriate treatment is to remove the decay.

Laser cavity detection: the laser is small, painless, and easy to use!

When your dentist or dental hygienist checks your teeth for cavities or decay, this usually begins with evaluating your x-rays and looking for areas of decalcification or weakened areas in your tooth.  Your dentist (and your Mom’s dentist)  will look for areas that are different in color from the adjacent teeth.  It should be noted here that cavities do not always change the color of the tooth.  Black or dark areas on your teeth may just be stains!  Your dentist will press on your teeth to check for areas that are soft.  These methods for checking for decay were also used by your Mom’s dentist.  Now we can detect a cavity even earlier with a cavity detecting laser.   Laser Cavity Detection did not even exist several years ago!

We know that cavities can start anywhere on the surface of a tooth.  The most likely place for cavities to start is in the grooves on the tops of teeth, below the areas where two teeth contact, or beside crowns and fillings.  The process of decay may penetrate the softer inner layers of the tooth leaving the surface intact.  So, pressing on the tooth doesn’t always tell you if there is decay below.  In our office, we use a laser like the one shown above to check your tooth for changes in the density of the tooth that would indicate decay below the surface.

The cavity detecting laser noted decay below the intact surface of this tooth. It is easy to see once uncovered and can be treated early!

The  laser cavity detection was used on this tooth and the decay was treated while the cavity was still small.  If decay had been left in the tooth until the surface had become soft, much more of the tooth would have been destroyed and weakened and the treatment would have been at a much greater cost to you!



This might look like decay. Time to test this tooth with a cavity detecting laser. Yea! No decay. We can retest this tooth later to compare the readings.

The laser cavity detection is here now!

We believe in embracing new technology when it is to the benefit of our patients and has been texted to be safe and accurate.  We do this because that is the kind of treatment we would want for ourselves or for anyone we care about!


With early cavity detection, we may be able to treat your cavities with the use of a special carrier like the one shown here that delivers medications and seals the tooth without drilling on it!

Treatment of early decay without drilling on the tooth!

Our office wants to make sure to stay up to date on technology that benefits you.  The laser cavity detection is just one of the ways that we do this!




Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth, Restoring Smiles