Monday, February 14, 2011

Visual Caries Detection is Now Picking Up Steam

I'm now seeing a great deal of excitement over digital caries detection.  It's been going on for a few years now with a couple of devices, but over the past year we've seen a real push into the market of a couple of other devices as well.

I'm currently classifying digital caries detection devices into 2 categories, one being "probe devices" and the other being "visual devices".  Both types work, they just vary in the way the information is obtained.

The probe devices are the Kavo Diagnodent and the MidWest Caries ID.  Both are considered by me to be probe devices because they are used in a similar way to the traditional dental explorer.  They are traced through the pits & fissures and give immediate indications when they see tooth structure that is breaking down.  These devices are mobile, being able to be easily moved from treatment area to treatment area and do not require a computer.

In the last year or so, we've seen the release of the visual devices of Air Techniques Spectra and Actoen's Sopro LIFE.  These devices take pictures of the teeth and then allow the doctor to save the pictures and display them immediately for the patient or to review at later exams.  Both of these devices require an operatory computer and connect via USB.  They image the tooth and then allow the doctor to show the images to the patient.  Both use fluorescence to detect decay with Spectra showing a "doppler radar" map over the tooth while the Sopro LIFE shows the tooth with the fluorescing areas.  Both work really well and are highly recommended.

I know this topic is going mainstream because I'm being asked more and more to do lectures on the topic.  I'll be presenting the latest version of this talk at the upcoming Chicago MidWinter meeting in a couple of months.

If you'd like to read an article I wrote on the subject a while back, you can find it online at the Dental Products Report website. That particular article was written before the Acteon Sopro LIFE device was on the market, so don't think that because it is not mentioned it doesn't work.  It does work.. and it works well.  It's up to each of us to determine what system works best in our hands, but hopefully this info will give you some food for thought.

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