DiagnoDent: Laser Cavity Diagnosis 

DIAGNOdent is the revolutionary new way to find even the smallest areas of tooth decay. By using this new technology, dentists are able to target and treat all of your small problem areas before they turn into larger issues that require more complicated procedures.


Q: Does it hurt?

A: No! DIAGNOdent is completely painless. It’s energy level similar to that of a laser pointer, the laser beam is harmless to surrounding tissues.

Q: What are the shortcomings of the traditional dental techniques like probing and x-ray?

A: Believe it or not, as much as 50% of tooth decay may go undetected by traditional dental methods of probing and xray.

Q: Where does most tooth decay start today?

A: Today most tooth decay starts in the hard-to-see pits and valleys of the biting surface.

Q: Why are these pit and valley cavities more important to detect today than in the past?

A: In the past tooth decay was mainly between teeth. With the widespread use of fluoride, the very nature of tooth decay has changed. The outer surfaces of teeth are strengthened and more resistant. Today the pit and valley cavities are more common than cavities in between teeth. Xrays are very effective at finding cavities between the teeth but not in the pits and valleys.

Q: Why can’t traditional methods like the dental probe (pick) find these pit and valley cavities?

A: This type of decay can make diagnosis with traditional methods difficult because the outer tooth surface often appears to be intact and the probe may be too large to detect the cavity. In the past before fluorides we could rely on a sharp explorer to get stuck in the softened enamel pits. Flouride makes the enamel harder and the bacteria that cause cavities do a lot more damage under the surface before the top enamel finally gets soft.

Q: If DIAGNOdent is good at finding cavities do I still need x-rays?

A: Yes, X-rays and DIAGNOdent complement each other. X-rays are good at finding cavities in between teeth and on the roots. DIAGNOdent is good at find cavities on the tooth’s biting surface.

Q: If you can’t see it with your naked eye then why should one be concerned?

A: An almost undetectable area of decay can aggressively penetrate inward towards the soft surfaces of the tooth and literally destroy the tooth from the inside out. This can happen before a cavity is ever visible to the naked eye.

Q: How does DIAGNOdent work?

A: DIAGNOdent emits an audio signal and registers a digital read-out, which identifies cavities developing below the surface. The higher the amount of fluorescence detected by the machine, the higher the number and the decay within the tooth.

Q: What is the benefit to me?

A: Because the decay is detected earlier, the number of dental procedures – and hence, the cost – can often be reduced. It’s a great way to keep little problems from becoming big problems.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: We use the DIAGNOdent laser as a routine part of exams and there is no additional fee associated with the scan.

Q: Can DIAGNOdent be used around existing white composite fillings?

A: No. Because composite resins can fluoresce, prompting elevated readings, the DIAGNOdent should not be used on these materials.

Q: Can DIAGNOdent read decay under an existing silver fillings?

A: If there is decay at the margin, it will give an accurate reading; however if the decay is under the floor of the silver filling the reading will not be accurate.

Q: Can DIAGNOdent be used on both adult and baby teeth?

A: Studies have shown the unit is equally accurate in both adult and baby teeth.

Q: As the device is a laser, is protective eye wear required?

A: No. The device is harmless when used as directed.

Not only can Diagnodent help prevent the spread of decay, but catching decay early means fillings required are simpler and shallower, preserving more of the tooth. This allows us to use minimally invasive filling procedures, such as drill-free laser cavity preparation. Finally, we’re able to objectively monitor any suspicious areas without repeated x-rays.