Tooth decay can be extremely painful and puts the teeth at risk. Many extractions and restorative treatments are performed every single day because tooth decay has become too severe for the dentist to save the tooth. Diagnodent® is a safe fluorescent laser that detects hidden tooth decay accurately, quickly, and in its earliest stages.
All dentists are advocates for healthy, natural teeth. Restoration devices like crowns and bridges are popular because they allow the natural tooth to remain in the mouth. Diagnodent® accurately exposes areas of tooth decay without scratching, probing or “opening up the tooth.” This provides a greater chance of identifying, treating and retaining a natural tooth without the need for expensive and time-consuming restorations.
Diagnodent® accurately exposes more caries than X-rays and examinations. In fact, this revolutionary diagnostic tool is over 90% accurate. Sometimes, caries “go underground” due to fluoridation. This essentially means that lesions that once lay on the surface of the tooth bed down, and remain invisible to the naked eye. Because Diagnodent® exposes caries earlier, more treatment options are possible.
The Diagnodent® process is performed within the scope of a regular dental checkup. It is strikingly similar to having a laser pointer aimed at the teeth. Diagnodent® is a hi-tech tool, which first scans a clean tooth surface with a laser beam. This scanning procedure serves to calibrate the instrument by providing information about the tooth structure.
The Diagnodent® System is actually measuring the amount of laser fluorescence within the tooth. As each tooth is scanned, the amount of reflected laser light is recorded to produce a digital readout. If the tooth contains little or no decay, little or no laser light will be reflected back to the instrument. However, if a tooth contains caries of any significance, more laser light is reflected back. High readings (compared to the tooth originally scanned) indicate that caries are present within the structure of a particular tooth. The amount of laser light reflected back correlates with the amount of decay within the tooth.
Once the dentist determines which teeth are suffering from decay, a plan can be formulated and treatment options can be discussed. In most cases, the early detection of caries means more treatment options and a greater chance of saving the affected tooth.
If you have any questions about Diagnodent®, please ask your dentist.
Dr. Widner grew up in Tacoma and studied at the University of Washington in Seattle, earning his BS in Biochemistry in 1997. He then attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and earned his DMD degree, before moving back to the Northwest to Practice Dentistry.