Diagnodent - Cavity Detector
Keeping A Healthy Smile
Laser Can Find Cavities Early
BOSTON, Updated 6:47 p.m. EDT September 19, 2000 --
Dentists are using a new technology that can detect a weakness in a tooth
before it becomes a cavity. That could mean no more Novocain shots and no
The device is a compact diode laser used to
identify areas of tooth decay that traditional means,
including X-rays, miss.
Diagnodent shines a laser beam down into the
tooth, to a depth of 2.5 mm.
The device is aimed into the grooves of
teeth, providing a decay reading to the dentist.
Michael Beck, DDS
Diagnodent is used by Dr. Michael Beck.
To schedule an appointment, call
NewsCenter 5's Heather Kahn reports that Diagnodent is a new
laser which finds hard-to-spot areas of tooth decay.
"It puts out a laser beam down into the tooth, and that
light reflects back towards the laser," Dr. Tom Orent of the Center for
Esthetic Dentistry said. "If there's decay, there's a change in the
wavelength. You get a reading from zero to 100 and are able to tell not only
where the decay is, but how deep it is, how much decay there is."
Orent said that regular dental exams and X-rays can miss as
much as three-quarters of decay. One Swiss study showed that dental exams
using a pick detected 57 percent of problems, while Diagnodent caught 90
percent of decay.
"Certainly we'll see decay if it's large, but it's too
late," Orent said. "At that point, you're looking at a very difficult
restoration, a large filling or in some cases even root canal."
catching the decay early, dentists have a number of tools that can get rid
of it, without Novocain or drilling. Other dentists say that more research
is needed before Diagnodent is used in most dental offices, but they do
agree that the technique is an exciting adjunct to X-rays and examination.
"The thing I like about it and is promising is that it is
not invasive," Dr. Fred Boustany of Boston Dental said. "It provides object
measurement of the decay inside the tooth."
That's good enough to keep patient Rosemary Casey smiling.
"I think it's great, because you want to keep your teeth as
long as you can," Casey said.
Diagnodent is FDA-approved.