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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.


    All of these devices use some type of camera system to display tooth images on the operatory computer. Spectra, as well as SoproLIFE and SoproCARE, use special light wavelengths to display caries fluorescence. CariVu uses invisible infrared light that is seen by the device and displays the tooth on the screen in a view similar to a bitewing radiograph, but uses transillumination instead of radiation. The Canary System uses a laser to image the tooth and display caries on the monitor with penetration of the tooth up to 5 mm.

    More from Dr. Flucke: How to ensure the entire team is on board with technology

    The advantages of these systems are the ability to easily replicate images from one appointment to the next and the ability to show patients an actual photo of their decay. This gives much more credence to the process and helps the patient understand their clinical situation. They are also very good devices for monitoring lesions in case something small is detected and the doctor wishes to try remineralization therapy.

    The images can be stored in your practice software so that they can be monitored from one appointment to the next. Since it is very easy to duplicate these images on separate appointments, monitoring of small areas is easy and accurate.


    Oral cancer screening

    One of the most important prophylactic services we can render is oral cancer screening. As one of the causative factors is HPV 16, we are seeing the age of affected individuals drop from middle age into the 20s.

    Fluorescence can also be used in this situation as well. By using specialized wavelengths of light, oral tissues can be examined and screened. These devices do not connect to the operatory computer so the screening relies on the doctor’s eyes alone.

    The devices are LED Dental's Velscope VX, Dentaleze’s Identafi and Dentlight’s Dental Oral Exam kit (DOE for short).

    More from Dr. Flucke: 5 technologies your practice needs to invest in now

    When viewed by these devices, healthy tissue has the appearance of a green apple while injured or cancerous tissue appears black. The Velscope VX and the Dental Oral Exam system both use a single wavelength of light for screening. The Identafi uses two wavelengths for screening. The first is the standard tissue fluorescence and the second is an amber wavelength that penetrates the tissue much deeper. When a dark area is discovered, this amber wavelength will penetrate deeper and show vascularity of the lesion if it exists. Since cancerous tissue has high vascularity, this helps to confirm the presence of neoplastic tissue.

    Continue to page three 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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