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Early Diagnosis of Tooth Decay

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 25, 2011
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

In most people tooth decay is obvious but at times it is possible that you have pain in tooth but cannot see the cavity, or can see just a dark spot on your tooth. Your dentist can diagnose early changes in your teeth before a cavity develops.

 

How does a dentist find early changes in your teeth that can cause cavities?

 

This is done by

  • X-ray of your teeth and jaws or
  • Examination of your teeth with an explorer (a metal tool that has a pointed end).
  • Some dentists use newer technologies. Are these devices really better than the experienced dentist an explorer and an X-ray?

 

Newer Techniques to diagnose Tooth Decay Early include

  • Digital Imaging Fiber-Optic Trans-Illumination (DIFOTI):  This technology uses computers to make images of a tooth while a light is shined behind it. Teeth with demineralized areas (early caries) seem darker than healthy areas. This helps a dentist to find tooth with problems. The method does not use radiation. As the images are interpreted by a dentist, there can be difference of opinion.
  • Digital Imaging DIAGNOdent: This technology uses laser to collect information. A hand held laser probe used and is shined on each tooth. Healthy teeth emit very little fluorescent light, but damaged area in a tooth and bacteria emit more light. The device is supposed to have 90% accuracy. It can show early caries before a cavity develops in the outer, visible layer (enamel). It ca be used to follow a suspicious tooth or teeth over time.
  • Quantitative Light-Induced Fluorescence (QLF): QLF is the newest technology. A light source, camera, fluorescent dye and computer software are used in QLF. The camera makes the images of a tooth, and the software evaluates each image and tells about possible mineral loss.

 

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