If you live in Tucson, AZ, you are fortunate to have a local dentist who uses the latest technology to help detect dental decay early – when treatment is less involved and less costly.

Decay can start in microscopic defects in your dental enamel and then spread into the softer tooth structure beneath. Dr. Jay Lopez wears surgical magnifying loupes to see your teeth up close in every direction. But, sometimes this is not enough to detect tooth decay that is hidden under hard enamel. Digital dental X-rays and the DIAGNOdent® laser cavity detection system are important adjunctive tools we use for diagnosis of caries (dental decay).

The DIAGNOdent® is a harmless and painless laser scanner that operates at a wavelength of 655 nm. As Dr. Lopez or our registered dental hygienist passes the pen-shaped probe across the occlusal surfaces of your teeth, an alarm signals when there are signs of hidden decay. Readings on the DIAGNOdent display indicate the degree of caries in the tooth.

At the wavelength of 655 nm, clean healthy tooth structure exhibits little or no fluorescence, but carious tooth structure exhibits fluorescence, proportionate to the degree of caries, resulting in an elevated scale reading on the DIAGNOdent® display.

To understand the harm caries can do to your teeth, how easily caries can occur, what puts you at increased risk for caries, and what you can do to prevent caries, we invite you to read Dr. Lopez’s article about Preventing Tooth Decay.