Cavities are a common occurrence, especially if we aren’t as good about our diet, brushing, or flossing like we should be. But the thing with tooth decay is that it’s best to diagnose it as early as possible, so that it doesn’t spread deeper into the tooth.
Early diagnosis of a cavity means that we can treat it immediately. In most cases, all that’s needed is a small filling. The sooner the cavity is spotted, the smaller the filling will be. Not only is this better for your tooth, it’s also gentler on your pocketbook!
You Can Avoid a Crown or Root Canal
When left alone, a cavity will continue to grow larger and deeper into the affected tooth. Once the decay reaches the layer of dentin just below your enamel, it can spread very quickly. Before you know it, the nerve inside of your tooth can become infected and abscessed. What you could have treated today with a filling might be a crown and root canal a few months later.
Cavities “Jump” to Other Teeth
A cavity is caused by bacteria and acids. The bacteria process the food particles inside of our mouths and secrete acid byproducts, which attach to the teeth. When the acids have finally worked through the outer layer of the tooth, it creates a cavity, which harbors more bacteria. If that cavity isn’t diagnosed and treated quickly, it can expand into the adjacent tooth. Tooth by tooth, decay makes its way across your smile.
How Can We Spot Cavities Earlier?
At Hawthorne Village Dental Care, we carefully screen each patient for cavities through a careful exam and periodic digital X-rays. But there’s another way we can find cavities before they’re ever visible to Dr. Sarna or on your radiographs, thanks to DIAGNOdent and CariVU technology.
Our DIAGNOdent machine is a cavity detection system that uses light and laser technology to measure the density of your tooth enamel. We can calibrate it against a healthy tooth, then screen areas that appear to be demineralizing. One of the most important places we use a DIAGNOdent to check for cavities is in the deep grooves of your back teeth.
When your enamel is weak or beginning to decay, the DIAGNOdent will emit a warning noise and a digital readout to compare tooth density in that area to the tooth it was calibrated with. It’s a laser that lets us find cavities before more traditional techniques can work.
CariVU uses transillumination patented technology that allows cavities to be identified without X-rays. The infrared lighting shines through tooth enamel, causing early decay to appear dark, while the healthier enamel appears white. It’s ideal for spotting the beginning stages of cracks or cavities without having to take a radiograph.
Earlier diagnosis is better for your tooth structure. If a filling isn’t needed, we can opt to seal the area instead, blocking out bacteria and food particles that would otherwise lead to an eventual cavity.
Schedule an Exam Today
We make the DIAGNOdent and CariVU cavity screening processes part of our routine checkup appointments. When you’re here for your next cleaning or exam, or you suspect you may have a cavity but don’t see anything wrong with your tooth, contact Hawthorne Village Dental Care in Milton to schedule an appointment!