Q: I heard that cavities can now be detected with a laser. Is that true?
A: Cavities can be detected with a laser called the DIAGNOdent. The DIAGNOdent is a non-invasive, painless tool used for detecting tooth decay – even decay that is not yet visible, and therefore, impossible to diagnose using conventional methods alone. Dental researchers agree that the traditional methods of detecting tooth decay, when used by themselves, are inadequate and outdated for modern dentistry. Additionally, the very nature of tooth decay has changed over the years due to the fluoridation of water and improved oral hygiene standards. These two factors lead to harder, more resistant tooth enamel – which is generally a good thing, but can also conceal even the most aggressive decay under the tooth surface. The DIAGNOdent laser works by scanning your teeth to measure fluorescence within your tooth structure. Healthy teeth will have little or no fluorescence. Teeth that have decay will have higher levels of fluorescence proportionate to how extensive the decay is. The DIAGNOdent translates these fluorescence readings into a digital numeric output, which allows the dentist to properly diagnose and treat the decay.
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