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Laser tool improves early cavity detection

February 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
What's worse? The dental drill or the metal pick? People seem to hate both When dentists pick and scrape at your teeth, they're looking for pinhole size cavities. If the tool finds a snag, then they pry a little deeper. Is there some way to eliminate this? Now, thanks to a new laser device, there is.

After the X-rays, it's time for some scraping.

When the pick or dental explorer sticks or catches on your teeth, that means: "The bacteria in that area is basically growing," said dentist Dr. Mori Rouhani.

At Dental Plus in Pasadena, Dr. Rouhani uses pain-free asers to look for cavities. The device is called DIAGNOdent. The laser penetrates and scans each tooth looking for the earliest signs of decay.

A reading over the "30" signals a cavity.

"When we catch this in the earlier stages of it, we have to remove less tooth structure," said Rouhani.

The great thing about this device is that patients can actually see where the cavity is developing and they can learn to take preventive action.

"Patients, they get motivated when they see that cavities can be taken care of so easily," said Rouhani.

Rouhani says the cost of DIAGNOdent is billed to insurance as part of the diagnostic service.

While only a handful of dental practices were using the device a few years ago, Rouhani says it's growing in popularity.