New software for reading x-rays has greatly improved our ability, at Centercare, to see early changes in teeth when dental caries (tooth decay) is just beginning. The chewing surface of teeth is not an area where x-rays are diagnostic during early decay breakdown, so occasionally we have to go to alternative technology to get information.
One way of seeing beyond the normal exterior surface of a tooth is to use what we know as infrared laser fluorescence. With this instrument, we measure the wavelength of the light that fluoresces back when we subject the tooth to a beam of laser intensity. When the readings differ from normal readings we know that dental decay is actually underway below the surface.
As a cavity enlarges, it eventually becomes visible on x-rays. At Centercare we want to catch it earlier than that. That’s when this laser can help.