If you don’t get treatment for a cavity until it becomes visible to the naked eye, your tooth may have already suffered from significant damage. This is especially problematic in modern dentistry, as an increasing number of cavities may not even reach the outer enamel, which has been fortified by fluoride and is less vulnerable to decay, until the decay is quite advanced.
However, in the past, patients only had the option to wait until the decay became noticeable. Now, dentists can detect cavities and recommend appropriate interventions sooner.
Laser dentistry can help to identify tooth decay in its earliest stages. The lasers emit light at a specific wavelength and the instrument measures whether the tooth reflects fluorescent light as a result. In the areas where there is evidence of decay, there will be some fluorescence, but with healthy tooth material, there is a minimal amount, or even none at all.
In using this technology, a dentist can pinpoint areas of decay underneath the tooth’s outer surface.
By identifying smaller cavities, laser dentistry can help to preserve a greater amount of biological tooth material, as the cavities may require smaller restorations and less removal of healthy enamel. In cases where decay is prevented from advancing significantly, it may even help to save patients’ teeth.
Laser dentistry is not the end-all, be-all, though, nor is it an excuse for you to discontinue your semi-annual dental check-ups and cleanings.
This technology merely gives your dentist an additional tool to use in the effort to keep your smile as healthy as possible. It’s just one component of an overarching plan to protect your dental health. That plan should also include routine professional care and a robust home oral hygiene routine.
If you’d like to have the opportunity to have tooth decay identified and treated as early as possible, ask our team about this technology at your next checkup. Contact the office of Dr. Philip Kozlow at 972-458-2464 to schedule your visit.