Small areas of decay (scientifically known as “caries”) traditionally are determined by sharp hand instruments and the dentist’s experience level. A new piece of equipment called “Spectra” is much more accurate, and helps us determine if a decay process is underway in a tooth, often before we can even see it. By intercepting the cavity while its small, a very conservative filling can be placed into the tooth. This not only eliminates the cavity, but helps to prevent the need for larger and more expensive treatment, such as root canals and crowns.
A cavity is produced by bacteria. When the process is underway, there is a by-product called “porphyrins.” The special light of the Spectra® unit detects the porphyrins, and causes fluorescence, which the machine measures. It is a very specific process, with very little margin of error.
Sometimes patients have a hard time believing that they have a cavity. They usually say, “nothing hurts.” Its only when a cavity is significantly deeper that you will feel pain, and by this time, you are risking a root canal. Compare this process to other things you can’t see: you can’t see the carbon monoxide that can build up in your house, you can’t see the cholesterol that may build up in your arteries, and you can’t see radon should it be present in your basement. But there are tests to pick these things up, and now we have a test to pick up decay in teeth with a large degree of accuracy!
Spectra® is a very powerful tool that Dr. Goldberg has found invaluable to maintain his patient’s oral health. It allows him to bring a greater level of accuracy to the diagnoses he makes. This is why he’s incorporated into his practice: for your health!