Early Cavity Detection
Why Is Early Cavity Detection Important?
How Cavities are Detected
While they may look opaque at a glance, your teeth are actually made from semi-translucent materials. The hard, shiny outside layer is called enamel & the softer, yellower inside material is called dentin. Both materials allow some light to pass through them, though dentin is a bit more opaque than enamel. Cavities start on the enamel & can eventually eat through it & the dentin beneath, exposing your tooth root to decay. Early cavity detection is all about preventing this.
When we shine a low-powered laser light at your teeth, damaged parts of your enamel (i.e. cavities) will illuminate differently. Technology built into the tool measures the fluorescence of your tooth–in other words, how much light it reflects or absorbs. As the laser tool is moved along the grooves of your teeth, a computer program creates a readout that lets the dentist know when there’s a significant change in fluorescence that may indicate the presence of decay. The dentist can then take a closer look at that area & decide on a plan for treatment.