When checking teeth for decay in addition to using visual clinical observation and radiographic evaluation, many offices use a sharp tip explorer because decay is generally softer than healthy tooth structure. In the deeper grooves of the tooth, however, the explorer can “stick” in the sides of the groove, giving a false positive. In fact, some studies indicate that the explorer, if pushed hard into the tooth fissure can actually cause microscopic fractures, pushing the decay process along further, particularly if the tooth is already partially demineralized.
Dr. James R. Donley, at Lumbertown Dental Wellness in North Muskegon, MI has invested in advanced technology that helps identify more accurately when a tooth is starting decay. The DIAGNOdent uses fluorescence to help diagnose decay inside the tooth. By shining a safe diode laser light onto the tooth, Dr. Donley is able to comfortably identify areas where bacteria are actively destroying tooth structure. This gives a digital readout that can be documented and monitored.
When the number gets to a certain level, it indicates that restorative intervention may be indicated. The benefit of using this technique is that we can conservatively treat early decay before it progresses. The smaller the initial filling in a tooth, the less likely it will progress or breakdown to the next level.
The DIAGNOdent is simple to use, and is quick to give a reading. The repetitive use on a tooth offers no harm to a tooth. When used in conjunction with both visual and x-ray diagnosis, it allows us to very conservatively and safely treat our patients.
If you are in the Muskegon area of Michigan, schedule an appointment with us at Lumbertown Dental Wellness and have Dr. James R. Donley give you the guidance in conservatively treating and protecting your oral health.