Some interesting information from Canary.
Visual exam only sees the tooth surface not what is happening beneath it:
- Tooth decay begins below the enamel surface and only appears as a white spot
- As the decay grows one only sees a white or brown spot until a hole develops
Explorers or probes are not recommended for examining grooves & pits
- They can break the fragile enamel crystal structure
- They can introduce and drive bacteria deeper into the tooth
- A sticky groove does not indicate tooth decay
X-Rays have significant limitations;
- Can only find decay on the sides of teeth once the lesion has grown to involve ½ the thickness of the enamel shell
- Can’t find decay on the biting surface until the cavity is very large
- Radiographic imaging of pits and fissures is of minimal diagnostic value because of the large amounts of surrounding enamel .
High tech diagnostics is one of my favorite topics. Traditional methods of diagnosis use mechanical processes that are highly subjective and rely on the training, experience and tactile dexterity of the examining dentist.
High tech diagnostics like the Canary use scanners to evaluate various tissues and then help us determine if those tissues are healthy or not.