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    Top technologies for caries and cancer detection

    Digital caries detection and oral cancer screening technologies could vastly improve a patient's quality of life - or even save their life.

    When it comes to technology and the integration of it, there are many ways to skin the “Technology Cat.” For many, it might mean integrating computers into your daily clinical routine. Or it might mean finally embracing digital radiography and adding that component to your office armamentarium. 

    However for this article, let’s take a look at a couple of technologies that can literally improve your patients’ quality of life or even save a life. These technologies are digital caries detection and oral cancer screening.

    More from Dr. Flucke: How to transform a dental practice from low-tech to high-tech

    Digital caries detection

    Digital caries detection can be divided into two types. These are “probe based” and ”visual based.” The probe-based device is the Kavo Diagnodent. I consider this the 800-pound gorilla in this product category. This is mainly because it has been around for about 15 years and because of that longevity, almost everyone in dentistry has heard of it and is at least familiar with it. This is also probably because it is the only probe-based device still available for purchase.

    It uses a 655 nanometer diode laser. At this wavelength of light, caries will glow or fluoresce. The Diagnodent probe is lightly traced around clean pits and fissures similar to the way we used to use explorers. When it detects the fluorescence signature of caries, the device emits a tone and gives you a numeric score. The tone increases in pitch as it detects larger carious lesions and corresponds with a higher numeric score.

    The device is very accurate, but it does have some limitations. It does not work around any restorations or sealants as they give a false positive result. Also the teeth must be cleaned of plaque by using a prophy brush or some type of particle delivery such as air abrasion or a Cavijet as plaque will also give a false positive.

    More from Dr. Flucke: 5 amazing dental technologies you should be using every day [VIDEO]

    The other limitation is that it is difficult to completely replicate scores from one prophy appointment to the next in case you want to monitor a small lesion and see if it increases in size over time.

    The other category is the devices that make up the visual-based side of the equation. These are devices such as Air Techniques Spectra, Acteon’s SoproLIFE and SoproCARE, DEXIS’s CariVu and the Canary System.


    Check out this interview with Boaz Munnerlyn of DEXIS on DEXIS CariVu and why it won a Best of Class award:

    Continue to page two for more...


    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...


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