Early Cavity Detection

We're committed to using the latest technology to ensure you get the best care. That's why we use an early detection tool that uses a laser to locate hidden decay in the cracks & crevices of your teeth before it is otherwise detectable. Many dental problems don't cause any pain in the earliest stages. This is especially true of cavities (called caries by dentists) & tooth decay. That's one of the reasons it is particularly important to come to the dentist for your regular checkups & cleanings. Dentists & dental hygienists are trained to spot the earliest signs of tooth decay, often in places that the patient can't easily see.

The very earliest stages of a cavity are pretty much impossible to see, even for a dental professional with a trained eye. When a cavity starts it's actually a microscopic hole in the very outer layers of your tooth. To make up for this, we use the latest technology to make trouble spots easier to identify. Early cavity detection uses a laser light to illuminate your tooth. Unlike higher-powered dental lasers that take the place of scalpels or drills, the cavity-detecting laser is very low-powered & will not cause any discomfort at all. There is no heat, discomfort or pain associated with early cavity detection.

Why Is Early Cavity Detection Important?

In addition to our visual examination, x-rays are another crucial tool for identifying cavities. X-rays can reveal cavities in the tight spaces between your teeth. However, for us to detect a cavity with x-rays or a visual examination, it often needs to be relatively advanced. As with many dental issues, the earlier a cavity is detected, the sooner we can address it, preventing further decay and safeguarding your tooth.

Treatment for removing tooth decay in the very early stages of a cavity is considerably less invasive (and less costly) compared to addressing cavities that are detected at a later stage. Early cavity detection can lead to less damage, less pain, and fewer inconveniences in the long run. While the primary objective is always to prevent decay, we recognize that perfect oral health is not always attainable. Therefore, early detection and treatment play a vital role in preserving your beautiful smile.

How Cavities are Detected

Although they may appear solid at first glance, your teeth are constructed from semi-translucent materials. The tough, shiny outer layer is called enamel, and the softer, more yellowish inner material is called dentin. Both substances allow some degree of light to pass through them, with dentin being somewhat more opaque than enamel. Cavities originate in the enamel and can progress to erode through the dentin beneath, ultimately exposing your tooth root to decay. Early detection of cavities is essential to preventing this.

When we direct a low-powered laser light at your teeth, areas of damaged enamel (i.e., cavities) will respond differently in terms of illumination. The device incorporates technology that assesses the fluorescence of your tooth, in other words, how much light it reflects or absorbs. As the laser instrument is moved across the crevices of your teeth, a computer program generates a readout that alerts the dentist when there is a significant shift in fluorescence, which may indicate the presence of decay. Subsequently, the dentist can closely examine that area and determine an appropriate treatment plan.