4 New Technologies Creating a New Era of Cavity Detection

Diagnosis of cavities has always been crucial cornerstone of a dental practice since the birth of the profession as a whole. Typically a decay is detected  by x-ray; imaging that will show decay as radiolucency (dark areas) on the tooth structure. This method is the gold-standard of cavity-detection but can often miss smaller caries. In recent decades, the methods by which to accurately spot these troublesome decay zones have expanded with the advent of new detection technologies. Fluorescent and infrared detection open the door to early diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment options for patients.

Various different companies are now producing new cavity detection systems making it complicated to figure out what each of them really do. Let’s see if we can make these systems easier to comprehend as I take you on a quick tour of the cavity detection universe. The modalities I will focus on are 1.How it works; 2. What are the advantages; 3. What are the disadvantages. Only a few specific devices are discussed below in order to avoid overlap of similar technologies yet encompass a large breathe of different detection methods. (The following list is in no specific order or ranking.)

CariVu Caries Detection Device:

  • DEXIS has patented the trans illumination technology use by the CariVu device.
  • First company to introduce digital radiography in 2001.
  • Using near-infrared light, the detection device can identify cracks and penetrate deeper into the tooth.
  • Require a clean tooth surface to prevent interference.
  • Seamless integration with existing DEXIS software.
  • Lightweight hand-piece.
  • Autoclave-friendly wand tips.

SoproLIFE Dental Caries Detection System:

  • SoproLife is made by the biggest dental technology company in France, Acteon.
  • Uses light-induced fluoresce technology to diagnose decay. Two different wavelength lights (450mm) and another what’s light LED for autofluorescence.
  • Utilized a color-coding system to evaluate the tooth (green is healthy/ red is carious). Red light is perceived by sensing a caries-inducing bacteria, Streptococcus mutans.
  • Require the tooth the be cleaned beforehand to prevent interference.
  • High-resolution digital camera allows for documenting patients teeth in high-definition for records. Lightweight hand-piece.
  • Autoclave-friendly wand tips.

DIAGNOdent Pen Dental Caries Detection System:

  • DIAGNOdent is manufactured by KaVo in Germany and uses diode laser fluorescence technology for caries-detection.
  • Uses red laser at 655mm wavelength which respond to Streptococcus mutans as well as porosity associated with demineralization.
  • Produces a numerical figure between 0-99 which denotes degree of decay.
  • Device needs to be calibrated for each individual patient for accurate readings.
  • Does not take digital images for record-keeping.
  • Autoclave-friendly wand tips.

Canary Dental Caries Detection System:

  • Quantum Dental Technologies in Ontario, Canada utilized Photothermal Radiomentry and Modulated Luminescence in their version of a caries-detector.
  • System comes with a console unit and does not a UBS-plugin option like other types of detectors.
  • Laser-light luminescence and heat are measured.
  • Numerical value will appear that signifies the level of decay in a specific scanned area.
  • Only system to measure released heat from laser to detect carious regions on dentition.
  • Can detect cavities even in a wet field and stained teeth.

So which one is the best? Detection systems all have their own respective advantages and disadvantages and I’m not here to act like a critic. My only hope is that you now understand the unique technology designed to catch cavities before they require major dental work like root canals  and crowns! It’ s important to remember that these are NOT REPLACEMENTS for traditional X-ray diagnosis but can be an invaluable tool compliment for detecting/documenting carious regions.


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