Tools for Diagnosis of Dental Problems
At Silverstone Dental Colorado Springs Dental office we employ many technologically advanced methods of diagnosis. From digital x-rays, which significantly reduce patient and staff exposure, to diagnostic lasers for cavity detection, you can be assured that problem areas will be noticed at their earliest stages.
We recently acquired a newly designed Planmeca Promax digital panoramic x-ray machine (I’m sure you’re as excited as I am about this!). What this means to you is that even our panoramic x-rays have extremely low dose radiation. In fact, just taking a stroll outside for a few minutes will give you a much higher amount of radiation than you will receive in our office! Another exciting aspect to this machine is it's ability to take bitewing x-rays outside the mouth. As an avid gagger, I can tell you this has significant benefits, especially for children. It allows us to diagnose cavities and other problem areas without the discomfort of film or sensors in the mouth in some patients.
We do continue to use intraoral digital bitewing x-rays as well. When using these in conjunction with the new panoramic and extraoral bitewing x-rays we can be sure that we aren’t missing any problem areas.
Digital Dental X-Rays
Diagnodent: Cavity Detecting Laser
The Diagnodent by Kavo is a great recent addition to the practice of dentistry. The Diagnodent is a laser that detects cavities in hard to reach areas. When the laser moves over the surface of the tooth it reflects light. Healthy tooth reflects the lasers light differently than decayed tooth. Based on the amount of reflection we can determine the relative depth of the cavity. The Diagnodent reads the reflection numerically from 0-100 with larger numbers meaning a deeper cavity.
The benefits of this numeric read-out gives you, the patient, the ability to decide when you want to treat the tooth. The good news is that the earlier you treat the cavity the less chance of pain or sensitivity there is after treatment. If the cavity is treated when the reading is below 30 there is good possibility that we wont even need to give you a shot to numb the area. The tooth is composed of 3 basic tissues: 1.) the enamel, which is a non-sensitive part of the tooth, 2.) the dentin, which becomes increasingly more sensitive the deeper into the tooth it gets, and, 3.) the pulp, where all the nerves and vessels are, which means it can be extremely sensitive. When readings are below 20-30 the enamel is typically the only effected part of the tooth and therefore treating this area of the tooth produces no pain.
We use magnification during diagnosis and treatment planning of needed work. This makes diagnosis more accurate. Decay around existing fillings, cracks in teeth and oral lesions are easier to diagnose when you can see them clearly. As my great friend and mentor Gary Horblitt, DMD always says... “You can only diagnose what you can see.” Magnification is instrumental in diagnosis and treatment planning.
Intraoral photography gives you the patient the ability to see problem areas just as I see them... magnified and in full color. Fractures, decay and failing restorations can be seen like never before. It also gives us the ability to communicate more effectively with our labs and specialists. Color and shape of restorations, such as crowns, can be shown to labs for optimal results. Lesions can be emailed to specialists for their viewing prior to you visiting them.
Being able to diagnose things properly allows patients the opportunity to be more involved in the decision-making process. Having instruments to show you the problem areas and how to fix them gives you the ability understand the issues clearly and completely just as your dentist understands them!