Some cavities are obvious and some are not, but in all cases, it is best to find cavities when they are small and easily treated. 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.
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 the cavity detecting laser. 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.
Our cavity detecting laser is similar in size to a pen, easy to use, and gentle!
How does Laser Cavity Detection Device Work?
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.
Is there decay on this tooth? Your Mom’s dentist and an x-ray would probably say no. The cavity detecting laser says YES!.
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. He or she 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! He or she will then 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 dental 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 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 more costly to you!
We believe in embracing new technology when it is to the benefit of our patients and has been tested to be safe and accurate. We do this because it is the kind of treatment we would want for ourselves or for anyone we care about!