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Why Early Detection of Tooth Decay is So Important

Tooth decay is a significant cause for concern among dental patients. Unfortunately, in the past, dentists have been unable to detect cavities until the decay reached a visible surface of the tooth. However, by that point the tooth may have already suffered significant damage and a fairly sizable restoration may be needed.

Cavities can actually begin on any of a tooth’s surfaces, including those that are relatively obscured from view, such as occlusal surfaces where two teeth meet. In fact, it’s becoming more common for cavities to develop in the areas between the teeth.

A laser dentist can help patients identify and treat such “hidden” cavities at their earliest stages before that decay has an opportunity to do much structural damage at all.

The laser dentist will use a new technology known as DIAGNOdent for such early tooth decay detection. This system uses lasers to measure the fluorescence of healthy enamel (which is minimal) and compare it to areas fluorescence is greater, indicating that decay is present. DIAGNOdent captures the differences in fluorescent activity to pinpoint areas of decay.

Patients benefit from DIAGNOdent in a number of ways. Most importantly, detecting hidden cavities and treating them earlier can prevent them from progressing to other areas of the tooth and compromising it.

Additionally, smaller cavities can be repaired with less insult to the tooth. More biological tooth material can be preserved, and smaller restorations are usually effective. In any type of restoration, it’s ideal to maintain as much of the tooth’s natural enamel as possible to protect the tooth’s integrity.

Because DIAGNOdent uses lasers to detect decay, it is virtually painless for patients, which is another advantage of this system. The scan is completed in a matter of minutes.

If you want to learn more about DIAGNOdent and how it can be used to identify cavities as early as possible, contact the office of Dr. Gregory Allen Kerbel at (972) 278-9901.