As technology advances, we have more options for providing you with the best dental care possible–like laser cavity detection! We have always used x-rays and probing tools as effective detection devices for cavities and tooth decay. These tend to work best on the tooth surface, but not always to detect cavities and tooth decay that could lie deeper in the tooth. Detecting cavities early-on is the best way to prevent dental caries from eroding the tooth enamel and causing infection in the pulp of the tooth. We have invested in laser cavity detection for our patients, allowing us more accurate cavity detection than ever before. With this detection, we use a pen-like wand to scan the surface of your tooth. This laser wand harmlessly and painlessly will signal our dentists of any hidden tooth decay present so the area can be treated quickly and efficiently. Laser cavity detection will provide better treatment to our patients and cause you to need less work on your teeth. To learn more about the benefits of this system, call our Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies office today!
Dental caries is the name for cavities. If you have ever seen a dentist before, then you are probably familiar with cavities and may have even had some yourself. Most people will have a cavity sometime during their life and others may have many. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that dental caries (otherwise known as tooth decay) is the MOST “prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable.” The National Center for Health Statistics records that 17.5% of 5-19 year olds have untreated dental caries. That percentage rises to 27.4% in those between the ages of 20 and 44. These percentages are alarming, as dental caries can quickly lead to gum disease, tooth loss and infections. Many of these people might not even realize they have a dental carie until they see their dentist. Detecting cavities early-on is the best way to prevent dental caries from eroding the tooth enamel and causing infection in the pulp of the tooth. Modern technology is advancing to help provide us with quicker means of detection, namely laser cavity detection.
So what is laser cavity detection? We have always used x-rays and probing tools as effective detection devices for cavities and tooth decay. These tend to work best on the tooth surface, but not always to detect cavities and tooth decay that could lie deeper in the tooth. Telltale signs of cavities can be hot/cold sensitivity, tenderness in a tooth or around the gum and inflammation, but that is when a dental carie has had time to flourish, which we don’t want.
We have invested in a more accurate detection system—laser cavity detection—for our patients, allowing us more accurate cavity detection than ever before. With this detection, we use a pen-like wand to scan the surface of your tooth. This laser wand harmlessly and painlessly will signal our dentists of any hidden tooth decay present so the area can be treated quickly and efficiently. This detection is done through lightwave reflection, where the laser can expose hidden cavities with reflections of light. With a healthy tooth, light will pass completely through a tooth. When a cavity is present, light will be reflected off the area of the dental carie and we will be able to see the exact location, size and shape of your cavity.
Without laser cavity detection, it can sometimes be a guessing game as to how far a dental carie has spread. X-rays can give us pictures of your teeth, but we can’t always detect a dental carie unless it is larger. We may even have to actually go into the soft pulp of your tooth to examine the depth and spread of a cavity to know it’s size. Knowing the precise size and location of a dental carie with laser cavity detection will allow us to find the dental carie before it has had time to spread or hurt the delicate tissues of your tooth further. If the cavity has not yet reached the second layer of your tooth, we can provide a sealant that will protect the tooth from any other food or substance penetrating the area, including bacteria-infested plaque.
This means (and this is the part you’ll like most) that we can quickly remove a tiny cavity and seal the area instead of having to do extensive work on your tooth. This also means you can avoid root canals that stem from later stages of tooth decay and you will have shorter office visits. A very small part of your tooth will need work instead of a large portion, preserving tooth structure and strength. Remember, the best way to combat dental caries in the first place is prevention. Always brush your teeth (at least) twice a day, floss, use fluoride and come in for your biannual checkups.
At Family & Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies, we believe laser cavity detection is one of the best preventative measures we can offer our patients. To learn more about the preventative benefits of laser cavity detection, or to schedule your biannual checkup, simply call us today at (970) 223-8425. Let us keep your pearly whites bright and strong for years to come!