So called early decay detectors like Kavos popular DIAGNOdent,
Air Techniques Spectra and the Sopro camera (the newest variation of
"laser fluorescence") often help a dental practice financially more that it
A study published by the American Dental Association
concurs, finding a large number of false-positive results with these
devices, which limits their use as a principal diagnostic tool.
Traditional visual exams and X-rays remain the preferred diagnostic method
since they are more than enough to root out cavities, the study found.
Theyre not necessary, according to American Dental
Association spokesman Dr. Matthew Messina. We can do excellent dental
work with traditional X-ray, visual, and hand exams alone.
that hasnt stopped the gadgetry from becoming a staple in many dental
offices around the nation.
See the article on Fox News:
Ouch, New technology makes
dental trips even worse
Dr. James C. Hamilton, now
retired from the University of Michigan Dental School, led a five-year study
that found early treatment of microcavities using a composite filling failed to
conserve more of the tooth than watchful waiting until caries [decayed areas of
teeth] were diagnosed.
"We found no benefit at any time for early
treatment," Hamilton said in an interview. He worries that expensive equipment
pushes some dentists toward more aggressive treatment to get a "return on their
"When you buy this new technology to treat incipient
carious lesions, you have increased your overhead. You now have to make this
piece of equipment pay for itself," Hamilton said. With the cost of a filling
ranging from about $100 to $250, dentists might be "using this to find and
treat those lesions when in fact they ought to be just watching them," he
See the article on ABC News:
"There is a weak correlation
between DIAGNOdent readings and carious lesion depth and volume."
See the study from the
Journal of Operative
Whether to fill based on a
DIAGNOdent reading depends on the risk, said Dr. Margherita
Fontana, an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of
Dentistry. An adult with great dental hygiene is probably at lower risk of
seeing a microcavity progress than a teenager who drinks soft drinks all day,
But other experts such as Dr. James Bader, a research
professor at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, are critical
of the Diagnodent a nd other early-detection devices because they identify
areas on teeth that arent actually carious lesions [decayed areas of
See The New York Times article:
A closer look at teeth may
mean more fillings by dentists
Dental Health of Colorado's
promotes the use of DIAGNOdent and has recently added the expensive Sopro
camera which uses the same laser fluorescence