Melbourne area preventive dentistry: Laser cavity detection

In the early stages, tooth decay is not visible. The outer most layer of a tooth is made of ultra-hard enamel and under that is the dentin. A microscopic cavity may spread slowly through the enamel layer. However, it spreads much more quickly through the dentin, the layer beneath enamel. By the time you see a small cavity on the surface, there can be significant decay hiding out of sight. It’s a little like a small rotten spot on an apple. When you cut the apple in half, the rotten area has extended to almost the whole of the apple. It is similar in teeth. Now fortunately thanks to advanced laser dentistry we no longer have to rely on visual examination alone to pick up decay.

Dr. Terry Rose, Smile In Style

How a laser can see decay before we can

Most laser technology is based on one simple principle. Light interacts differently with different substances. While a tooth appears opaque, light can penetrate it to a certain extent. It can pass through healthy tooth tissue more easily than it can through decay.

The laser diagnostic procedure is fast, painless, and extremely accurate. Your dentist uses a small, pen-like wand to direct a beam of light on the surfaces of your teeth. The laser detects the density of the tooth material, providing an instant readout. Decay is located by an abnormally high reading in the tooth.

Benefits of early detection

This technology allows us to find and treat cavities in the early stages, when they are much smaller. This is important for several reasons:

  • Strength – By the time a cavity is visible, it is likely to need a large filling, which can weaken the tooth structure.
  • Comfort – In the centre of the tooth is soft pulp and sensitive nerves. Normally, they are protected by a thick layer of hard tissue. As decay erodes away at this protective layer, sensitivity and toothache develops.
  • Avoid root canal treatment – A deep cavity can expose the dental pulp to bacteria, resulting in an infection in the root canal. If this happens, root canal treatment is the only way to remove the infection and save the tooth.
  • Cost and convenience – A tiny filling is much faster and more economical than complex treatments that may be needed if decay spreads.

Smile in Style is proud to provide the Melbourne area with quality dental care, at our Moonee Ponds and Sunbury offices. Give us a call at 03 8400 4104 or 03 8001 6021 and arrange an appointment today!


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Smile In Style Dental office near Moonee Ponds and Sunbury

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Throughout our site, you will find valuable information about our services that will help you get to know us better. It is our mission to create beautiful white healthy smiles using the latest technologies. Our experienced Dentists and staff aim for lifelong relationships with our patients, providing relevant dental education and continual care throughout life. Here, you can learn more about the various dental conditions that may develop and the ways in which we treat them.
Some of the services you can expect to find at Smile in Style include: Our goal is to work together with you to achieve your healthiest, most attractive smile, whilst ensuring your comfort and satisfaction.

Safe Amalgam Removal Protocol

  • Chlorella drink prior is given prior to treatment and a mouth rinse post-treatment. Chlorella can help bind and prevent mercury absorption.
  • Physical protective barriers - Masks, protective coverings, eyewear, in-mouth non-latex dental dams, and other steps are taken to prevent physical contact with mercury for the patient and staff.
  • Oral evacuation - Generous amounts of water are used to continuously rinse particulate matter from the mouth while suctioning it away. Combined with protective dental dams, this prevents patients from swallowing dental amalgam particles during treatment. Additionally, the rinsing helps lower the temperature of the filling, reducing the amount of mercury vapour released.
  • External air - A continuous supply of non-contaminated air or oxygen is delivered via a mask or similar apparatus, preventing inhalation of mercury vapour or particles.
  • "Chunk it out" method - Rather than using a drill to grind the filling down, it is carefully removed in the largest possible pieces, minimising friction, vaporisation.
  • High Volume Evacuation Suction is used by the dental assistant to remove amalgam particles in the mouth.
  • High Volume Air suction and Air Purifiers are used in the clinical room that is able to remove mercury vapour from the room.
  • Amalgam separator use - This device collects mercury-contaminated waste before it can enter the sewage system, allowing us to dispose of it safely.