The Diagnodent uses a small laser to help us diagnose decay earlier than ever before. While X-rays can be invaluable in helping us diagnose decay, their use in detecting beginning decay on the chewing surface is limited.
Many teeth have grooves on the chewing surface that gather stain. In the past it was impossible to tell if dark areas on the chewing surface, as shown in these bicuspids, were decay or merely stain that was penetrating deep into the grooves.
With traditional diagnostic techniques, the explorer (that's the thing with the point on it that everyone's afraid of) is too large to fit into the small grooves to give us a tactile sense of whether decay exists or not.
The laser tip of the Diagnodent allows us to see a digital readout quantifying the amount of decay which may be present.
The value of diagnosing decay early cannot be overestimated! With early detection, treatment can be less invasive and more comfortable than ever before. In most cases, early diagnosis of decay on the chewing surface of a tooth allows us to repair the decay without anesthetic or without drilling!