Spotting Dental Decay Earlier May Enable Self-Healing Cavities


Your dentist may soon be performing a laser and light show inside of your mouth.  The desired end result: cavities that disappear as efficiently as a magician’s assistant.

 But this is science, not smoke and mirrors magic. Scientists and dental experts believe that they can team your body’s innate ability to heal with the advances made by modern dentistry in order to provide a less intrusive and better way to deal withdental decay.

Early prevention plays a huge role in oral health. New cavity-detection systems can detect decay much earlier than x-rays. These machines, some of which utilize low-power, pulsating laser lights, were first developed in 2013. The earliest systems measured the fluorescence caused by bacteria that cause tooth decay. The newest ones measure the heat and light reflected from a tooth to warn of tiny changes in the structure of that tooth.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article on these machines, standard dental x-rays don’t reveal the presence of cavities “until there is a fairly large hole in the tooth.” Cavity-detection systems can catch 93% of cavities in the earliest stages of their development – some can spot problems lurking up to a depth of 5 mm below a tooth’s surface. X-rays can only catch around 27% of early-stage cavities.

Light systems can also alert dentists to the presence of decay in-between teeth and under crowns and fillings, which x-rays don’t typically reveal until the decay is advanced.

The question now isn’t whether the technology works – that’s been proven in various studies. But dental experts aren’t yet sure how to best respond to the information provided by cavity-detection systems.  Drilling and filling may be the answer, but less invasive techniques that enable a reversal of the decay process are also made possible through the use of these ultra-sensitive devices.

Dental decay, especially when caught early, can sometimes be halted through the use of better dental hygiene, improved diet and/or oral care products that provide a boost of fluoride and minerals to the teeth.

One cavity-detection system, the Canary, also offers a digital cloud that enables dentists to provide their patients with images, reports and graphs that tracks their preventive dental care program process.  It seems like this would be a great way to motivate kids to eat right and brush carefully.

The benefits of preventive care can also be gained by visiting your dentist regularly, whether he or she has a whiz-bang amazing laser machine or not. If you’ve been putting off seeing your dentist due to worries about costs, , a dental savings plan can help to alleviate that anxiety.

Call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163 to find the perfect plan to fit your needs.



Join. Save. Smile.