We can spend hours and hours – and even hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime – looking after the various parts of our bodies, but for some reason our teeth and gums never seem to come up that high on the priority list. Sadly, these are some of the most important because they have a direct impact on so many other areas of your health, and the longer that you leave it, the longer that it will take to bring your teeth back to health, and the more it will cost.
You can ensure that this does not become your fate by ensuring that you visit your dentist regularly, so that your teeth can get the attention that they deserve. They will notice if there are any problems that will be coming up in the future, so that preventative measures can be taken. We are able to use technology such as the DIAGNOdent laser to detect tooth decay prematurely, a process which is recognised by not only the US FDA and the American Dental Association.
Tooth decay is something that, if we did nothing about it, could happen to anyone, and that is why the decision was made for small amounts of fluoride to be added to our drinking water, to prevent it as much as possible. There is a side effect from that which creates an enamel surface that is very hard around the tooth – brilliant for individuals, but for dentists this just makes it harder to tell exactly what is happening to the tooth itself. Before fluoride was introduced, dentists could see cavities easily because they developed from the outside in, but now they develop from the inside out, so the exterior of the tooth can look completely healthy.
That can mean that a dentist may not realise that there is a problem with the tooth until a large amount of it has been damaged, and the cavity can even go on for so long that the tooth is quitedestroyed. By increasing the scale of our detection for cavities, our dentists are able to take much better care of our patients by using both new and emerging technologies, but also working with the best new methods of detection and prevention: and that is the DIAGNOdent laser.
The DIAGNOdent laser offers a new way to ‘see’ the tooth, as the scanner is able to understand the way that light reflects from the tooth that it is being shined on. Depending on how the light is received by the sensor, the scanner will then analyse exactly how it looks to understand whether or not there was a fluorescent reflection – and if there was, there is decay in the tooth. Many people do not know that fluorescence is created completely naturally by the decay in our teeth. Once the scanner has detected it, the dentist will be informed.
It is simply not true that every part of an examination within a dentist’s chair has to be painful! The DIAGNOdent laser uses light and nothing else in order to diagnose your teeth, and that means that there is no pain or discomfort to the patient whilst the procedure takes place. It is even able to assess just how much decay there is in a tooth so that a dentist can understand how your oral health is progressing.
However, that does not mean that we are only going to use this sort of technology. We are currently living and working in a world that is absolutely full of brilliant ways to understand oral hygiene and health, so the DIAGNOdent is just one of the tools that our dentists will use. The DIAGNOdent laser is a very sensitive tool and so will often be used by dentists to understand just how much decay there is in a tooth, but it is not the only way to know whether there is tooth decay at all.
One way that our dentists can see whether or not you have tooth decay or a cavity is to take an x-ray, although it is not a completely infallible piece of technology. Sometimes a smaller cavity can be missed because x-rays display the relative values within your teeth between hard tissue and soft tissue. This unfortunately means that a tooth cavity will need to be at least a third of the size of the tooth to be able to be picked up by an x-ray so that it can be detected by the contrast.
By using multiple kinds of technologies together at the same time, it makes it even easier for our dentists to be able to support our patients in helping them in keeping their teeth as health and as happy as possible. Once a cavity has been discovered, they will be small enough to be able to be repaired with microbrasion fillings that do not require a drill, and the fillings can be perfectly matched with the colour of your other teeth. These sorts of fillings are completely painless and allow you to continue your life as normal.
If you are interested in a laser-accurate diagnosis of your teeth, call (619) 640-5100