X-rays have been used for decades as the primary way to detect hidden cavities. A new device has emerged that dentists can employ to locate growing cavities at a much early stage in their onset. Through directing the beam of a laser at a patient's teeth, dentists may discover smaller cavities an X-ray could not. Upon discovering "minute" cavities, a dentist may offer quicker, less invasive, and easier to afford treatment. 

Laser and Light Best Detect Tooth Decay

There is a significant difference between utilizing an X-ray machine and using a laser machine to identify the presence of tooth decay. The laser machine catches early detection in 93% of all patients, three times the percentage a traditional X-ray machine delivers. The laser can "read" deeper into the tooth than an X-ray machine meaning smaller amounts of decay can be discovered.

Early Detection Means Easier Treatment

Locating a cavity at its earliest stage allows the dentist to respond faster. The quicker the dentist is able to detect the problem, the less invasive the treatment has to be. The undetected cavity could eventually become so severe a root canal ends up being the only effective treatment.

Also, the more the cavity grows, the greater the threat it presents to other teeth. If the cavity is not detected during a routine appointment, by the time you next annual checkup arrives, several cavities develop. Why is this? Bacteria that could have been eliminated after early detection of a cavity ended up spreading unabated. 

Financial Benefits of Early Detection

Sometimes, early detection comes with financial rewards.

Early detection raises the possibility putting off the actual filing of the cavity for several weeks. These extra weeks allow a cash-strapped, uninsured patient to better plan out a way to afford the procedure with less of a financial burden.

Steps the patient could take include

  • Find a suitable and affordable dental insurance policy.
  • Cutting costs or working extra hours to save enough money to pay for the procedure.
  • Search for a low-limit medical care credit card to cover some or all of the fees.
  • Offering the dentist a decent enough down payment that the remainder of the costs are easily financed.

Once you feel a toothache, your teeth and gums may have reached a point where emergency, and immediate care is unavoidable, all these options are off the table. Talk to your dental professional, one like Joseph Craig, for more information.