Dentists are using a new device to detect the earliest stages of tooth decay.
Dentists still use picks, probes and x-rays to find cavities. But now some are using a color-coded scan that resembles a weather radar map.
An Ames dentist says it could save you time, money and pain in the long run.
Dr. Sonya Stoltze is using a new scanning wand to detect cavities. The "spectra" device shines fluorescent light on a tooth to sometimes see what she can't.
“If you see green, that tells us it's healthy tooth and if you see anything that's red, it lets us know there's a cavity there,” Dr. Stoltze explained.
Stoltze found two red areas on 16-year-old patient Logan Hemmen. A closer look shows how big the cavity is, how deep it might be, and where it`s located.
“We can locate cavities when they're much, much smaller so we can fix them when they're tiny because if you have to have a cavity, have it when it's tiny,” Dr. Stoltze said.
That way, she doesn't have to use the dentist drill or even numb the tooth to clean out the decay.
While Stoltze is finding more cavities with the new technology she says if patients prefer they can wait and monitor some of the smaller cavities to see if the decay gets worse.
“The trust between a patient and dentist is really important,” Dr. Stoltze said.
And this is just another tool that could make your next trip to the dentist`s office - pain free.
Stoltze says not a lot of dentists are using the spectra technology right now, but that could change in the future.
All treatment plans are subjective which is why she says it's important to find a dentist that you can trust.