When it comes to dental health, many people assume that they can feel cavities right away. Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case! Oftentimes cavities can’t be felt until they’ve progressed and caused more damage to the teeth, which increases the risk of a painful emergency (as well as more extensive dental work). But by getting regular checkups you can be sure any decay is found as soon as possible, especially if your dentist is using the DIAGnodent laser to detect even the smallest cavities. Keep reading to learn more about cavities and how this advanced technology can benefit you!
What Are Cavities and Why Can’t You Always Feel Them Right Away?
To understand what a cavity is, it’s helpful to understand some basic tooth anatomy first. Teeth consist of three layers: The outer layer is called enamel, which is actually the hardest substance in the body. The second layer is a softer material called dentin. The innermost layer is called pulp and contains the sensitive nerve of the tooth.
A cavity starts in the enamel, furthest away from the nerve. For many people, it’s only when the cavity grows and gets closer to the nerve that it can be felt, at which point more of the tooth has been destroyed.
And while annual X-rays help dentists spot small cavities, technology like the DIAGnodent laser can find them when they’re even smaller, before X-rays can detect them. This is when a cavity can be treated with a small, inexpensive filling, which is much less invasive than a large filling or dental crown.
How Does the DIAGnodent Work?
The DIAGnodent laser is a handheld wand that takes just minutes to use and is completely painless. Your dentist will hover the wand over each tooth to scan its surface and determine the mineral density of the enamel, which is another way of saying how hard or tough it is. A cavity is indicated if the surface density of the enamel is low.
The DIAGnodent then displays a numerical readout that tells your dentist how large or small the cavity is (if the tooth has one), which helps determine the type of treatment they recommend.
When it comes to dental care, it’s widely known that small problems turn into bigger problems if they’re left untreated. When your dentist uses every tool at their disposal, including annual X-rays and the DIAGnodent, they can help you prevent painful dental emergencies and ultimately save you time and money in the dental chair.
About the Author
As a general, restorative and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phil Henzlik wants to minimize the dental work his patients need in the long run. By using advanced technology like the DIAGnodent, he’s able to find and treat cavities as early as possible. If you’d like more information or have any questions, he can be reached via his website or at (303) 674-5566.