Melbourne area preventive dentistry: Laser cavity detection

Dr. Terry Rose, Smile In Style

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.

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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