Detecting Cavities Early with Lasers

Detecting Cavities Early with Lasers

Cavities can have serious consequences. As tooth decay progresses, it can jeopardize the stability of the tooth, and the cavity-causing bacteria can spread to the gums and instigate periodontal disease.

It’s in a patient’s best interest to catch cavities when they are still small and manageable. When a dentist spots tooth decay in its early stages, the treatments are less invasive and the long-term outlook more positive.

Lasers dentistry can help in the battle against advanced decay. They uncover signs of cavities much earlier than x-rays and visual examinations can, potentially leading to better outcomes for the patient. 

Lasers are useful tools that supplement other methods, such as x-rays and exams, in diagnosing and treating tooth decay.

Certain qualities of lasers make them useful in detecting decay. The beam of light is set at a specific wavelength, which is reflected off of a healthy tooth with no evidence of fluorescence. Areas of decay, on the other hand, do fluoresce at that wavelength, and the phenomenon is strong enough that even minor areas of decay can be identified by measuring the laser’s reflection.

As such, even the smallest beginnings of a cavity can be characterized as abnormal, allowing a dentist to intervene with a relatively minor restoration.

X-rays, on the other hand, require a sufficient amount of decay to show up on the film. By that point, the cavity may require a larger filling or it may be encroaching on nearby teeth.

This issue is of particular concern when cavities begin in areas that are hidden beneath the tooth’s surface or at points where the teeth meet. It’s especially difficult to spot decay in those areas when solely relying on traditional techniques.

Additionally, the lasers may help the dentist spot signs of further decay under fillings that have been in place for years and even decades.

Lasers are useful tools that supplement other methods, such as x-rays and exams, in diagnosing and treating tooth decay. Contact our office serving Highland Park and the surrounding areas to learn more about how you can benefit from the use of lasers at your next appointment.