What is Dental Laser Cavity Detection?

DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection Pen

DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection Pen

Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies is excited to offer this tool to our patients to help diagnose decay when it starts and stop it in its tracks before you need a filling or more aggressive treatment.  We offer the unique DIAGNOdent laser technology–a pen-like wand that scans the surface of your tooth, and signals to your dentist if there is any hidden decay.  This new powerful preventive dentistry technology provides you accuracy, precision, comfort and interactivity that will transform your dental experience.


How Does DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection Technology Work?

The unique DIAGNOdent laser is a pen-like wand that scans the surface of your tooth 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. DIAGNOdent has been approved for the detection of dental cavities (caries) by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Dental Association.


The Challenge Hidden Caries Creates that the DIAGNOdent Solves

While the use of fluoride creates harder enamel surfaces that are more resistant to decay and reduces the overall occurrence of tooth decay it has made early-stage detection of cavities more difficult. Cavities that once were found on the smooth outer enamel surfaces of teeth are now more often found in the softer dentin layer beneath the enamel, inside the small pits and narrow fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth. These sub-surface cavities destroy tooth structure from the inside out, leaving the external surface of the tooth the appearance of being healthy until the decay is so large that can be detected on x-rays or discoloration becomes visible.  If the enamel defect leading to the decayed area is smaller than the head of the explorer used to detect cavities, the decayed area may not be detected and continue to grow into a big problem.


90% Success Rate Correctly Diagnosing Hidden Caries

Cavities that are present on the exterior of a tooth are pretty easy to diagnose treatment for because you can see the decay, but decay that is inside the tooth–that causes some symptoms but no visual explanations–can be harder to diagnose treatment for.  With DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection technology, Drs. Murri and Willey have a tool that can help them know what is going on inside your tooth so they can prescribe more effective treatment for you. The interactivity of the tool helps our patients be part of the examination process in fun, new ways.


What Advantages Does Laser Cavity Detection Offer

Some of the amazing benefits that you can enjoy with laser cavity detection include:


  • Accurate: Over 90% accurate in detecting decay not that was not detectable with an explorer or bitewing X-rays.
  • Conservative: Prevents unnecessary invasive treatment of suspicious teeth.
  • Data-driven: Precise, reliable measurement tools give your dentist real data to help monitor cavity activity over time.
  • Confidence building:  Helps you know that your dentists and hygienists are treating questionable sites and sub-surface cavities with accurately
  • Empowering: Allows hygienists to educate patients on cavities and decay
  • Interactive:  Engages patients in examination process.
  • Safe: Uses light energy-no X-ray exposure. Poses no danger to patients.
  • Painless: Quick, non-invasive examination tool.


Precision and Prevention with Laser Cavity Detection Treatment

Laser cavity detection treatment provides precise data to your dentist so that he can find and stop tooth decay at the microscopic level before it has a chance to grow into a bigger, more painful, more costly problem.  This technology allows your dentist to detect subsurface cavities in a way that was previously unimaginable. When a cavity is found early enough, sealants and fluoride treatments may be all you need to stop the growth of it.


Am I a Candidate for Laser Cavity Detection Treatment?

Laser cavity detection treatment is available for all patients. Laser cavity detection is often used with traditional diagnostic tools during a regular checkup. Despite its effectiveness for preventive dentistry, laser cavity detection treatment may not be ideal for patients who have previously restored teeth.  If the cavity does need a filling, catching them early means that fillings can remain small and you keep keep more of your natural tooth intact. It is the larger cavities that cause teeth to break down, chip, fracture, or abscess and need more aggressive, permanent, and costly treatments such as root canals. Laser cavity detection allows you to keep your teeth strong and your mouth healthy for years to come.


Call for a Laser Cavity Detection Consultation

If you would like more information about laser cavity detection, 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.