Early Cavity Detection


We’re committed to using the latest technology to ensure you get the best care. That’s why we use an early detection tool that uses a bright light to locate hidden decay in the cracks & crevices of your teeth before it is otherwise detectable.

Many dental problems don’t cause any pain in the earliest stages. This is especially true of cavities (called caries by dentists) & tooth decay. That’s one of the reasons it is particularly important to come to the dentist for your regular checkups & cleanings. Dentists & dental hygienists are trained to spot the earliest signs of tooth decay, often in places that the patient can’t easily see.

In addition to our eyes, the other essential tool to spotting cavities is one of the oldest dental technologies: x-rays. An x-ray of your tooth can help spot cavities in the tight spaces between your teeth. However, a cavity has to be pretty bad already for us to spot it with x-rays or a visual examination. And of course, the earlier a cavity is spotted, the sooner we can take care of it to prevent future decay & protect your tooth.

The very earliest stages of a cavity are pretty much impossible to see, even for a dental professional with a trained eye. When a cavity starts it’s actually a microscopic hole in the very outer layers of your tooth. To make up for this, we use the latest technology to make trouble spots easier to identify. Early cavity detection uses a bright light to illuminate your tooth. There is no heat, discomfort or pain associated with early cavity detection.

While they may look opaque at a glance, your teeth are actually made from semi-translucent materials. The hard, shiny outside layer is called enamel & the softer, yellower inside material is called dentin. Both materials allow some light to pass through them, though dentin is a bit more opaque than enamel. Cavities start on the enamel & can eventually eat through it & the dentin beneath, eventually exposing your tooth root to decay. Early cavity detection is all about preventing this.

When we shine a light on your teeth, damaged parts of your enamel (i.e. cavities) can illuminate differently. This is particularly useful for detecting cavities in the groves of the biting surfaces of your molars, which may be harder to detect using just x-rays. The dentist can then take a closer look at that area & decide on a plan for treatment.

Treatments for removing tooth decay at the very early stages of a cavity are much less invasive (& less costly) than repairing cavities that are caught later on. Early cavity detection can mean less damage, less pain & less hassle down the road. While preventing decay is always the primary goal, we understand that not everyone has perfect oral health all the time, so early detection & treatment are essential tools for preserving your beautiful smile!

Call us today,   813-685-6139, or  Book Online Now.