Precise Dental Diagnosis with Laser Cavity Detection
Tooth decay can be difficult to diagnose in certain situations, especially when it starts out as a microscopic defect under the enamel. Left untreated, the decay may spread quickly under the surface, creating a large cavity inside a seemingly intact tooth. While x-rays and probing tools are effective in detecting decay at the surface of the tooth, they are unreliable when it comes to exposing subsurface cavities. Given the limitations of these conventional diagnostic methods, Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies is offering Diagnodent laser cavity detection for all our patients. This can save you time, money and your dental health.
The unique Diagnodent laser is a pen-like wand that scans the surface of your tooth, which signals your dentist for any hidden decay. This technology is completely safe and painless. It’s also far more accurate in cavity detection than x-rays and conventional probing instruments. Based on the principle of lightwave reflection, the laser can expose hidden cavities by the way the tooth reflects the light. When the tooth is healthy, the light will easily pass through with minimal refraction. If a cavity is present, however, light will be reflected. The amount of light reflection often indicates the size of the cavity.
The Preventative Benefits of Laser Cavity Detection
Catching the cavity when it starts is your best means for preventing dental repair work and preserving the health of your smile. When a cavity is caught early enough, your dentist can recommend a variety of preventative treatments depending on what’s best for your condition. If the decay is mild and has not spread to the dentin (the 2nd layer of your tooth), a dental sealant may be advised. The sealant will protect the surface of your tooth from being penetrated by food and plaque, which should stop the formation of the cavity right in its tracks. Otherwise, your dentist may prescribe fluoride to strengthen your enamel, which can be just as effective in terms of fortifying your tooth against decay.
Even if your tooth requires a filling, the advantage of early detection means that more of your tooth is preserved. Cavities that are untreated due to late detection can result in more expensive and painful conditions down the road. Larger cavities can severely weaken tooth structure, and can make it easier for the tooth to chip, break, or crack. Subsurface tooth decay have the potential to to reach the tooth pulp faster than an above-the-surface cavity, which can lead to a painful abscess.
Laser cavity detection is often performed in conjunction with conventional diagnostics during your regular checkup. Though it is considered an indispensable diagnostic tool in preventative dentistry, it may not be ideal for patients who have previously restored teeth.
If you would like more information about the dental services we offer, or if you would like to make an appointment, call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-6101. For your convenience, you can also reach us after regular office hours by submitting an online contact or appointment request using the form below.