Doppler radar method being used in dentistry

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Brushing and flossing your teeth is something we all know to do and some of us are more diligent about it than others. But all that brushing and flossing doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get all of that tooth-decaying bacterium.

Now there’s a new method some dentists are using to help detect cavities, even sooner than an X-ray can.

It’s called Spectra.
Spectra can be best described as a doppler radar of your tooth. The dentist uses a wand to take snapshots of the tooth. It uses an LED light to snap the shot, which then projects a colored image on a screen.

Based on the colors in that image, a dentist can tell where cavities are just starting to form and where the cavities have already penetrated deeply into the tooth.
A blue colored area means a cavity is just starting to form. It’s still on the surface of the tooth. By the time the cavity has gone deeper into the tooth, the image will project a red color.
Based on the image using Spectra, dentists can now catch cavities in their very earliest stages of development. Because of this, less time is spent drilling the tooth enamel, thus saving more of the tooth. Also, there’s less need for use of the dreaded pick, long needled anesthesia, and the drills.
Another benefit of Spectra is that some patients could avoid having X-rays of the mouth. This decreases their exposure to radiation.
But, as always, Dr. Zimmerman stresses the continual dedication of brushing and flossing your teeth daily.