Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Laser Cavity Detection

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We believe in informing and educating our patients and encouraging you to take charge of your own healthcare. We welcome your questions and are happy to answer any concerns you may have about your dental health, your treatment, and our practice.

Please take a look through this selection of questions we often receive. If your question is not answered here or if you have additional questions, feel free to call us or contact us online using our convenient form.

Laser Cavity Detection

It is natural to be a little skeptical because new technology emerges all of the time. At Dr. Grizzle’s office, we do not just jump on every bit of new technology without doing research and making sure that it is truly something that benefits our patients. We know that patients don’t want to be bothered with a bunch of gadget just for the sake of using them. That is why Dr. Grizzle tests all of the equipment before he commits to it.

Dentists have used lasers in dentistry for decades now. From soft tissue lasers, used in gingival surgeries, to lasers used to prep teeth quickly and painlessly for procedures, lasers provide greater accuracy, comfort, and diagnostic benefits for our patients.

At Dr. Grizzle’s office, we use cavity laser detection as an additional tool to help prevent our patients from developing decay and requiring more extensive treatment. A lot of dentistry today is about prevention and anywhere we can save you from unnecessary treatment, we will.

Laser cavity detection works by shining a laser on your clean, dry tooth. The laser can penetrate your tooth through the smallest of fissures and determines the health of your tooth from the inside out, measures the level of decay, and its progression.


Laser cavity detection is incredibly useful for detecting cavities below the surface. Because fluoride had made enamel harder and mare stable, microscopic bacteria are sneaking into our teeth and eating them up from the inside out. While harder, healthier enamel is good, it does pose a challenge when it comes to the accurate diagnosis of dental caries.

The laser senses density and can find its way into the smallest of openings in your tooth and determine not only the presence of dental decay, but also the extent of the dental decay.

While laser cavity detectors work on the margins of amalgam fillings, composite (white) fillings will not work with laser cavity detection because of its density. Composites throw off the readings, leading to an inaccurate diagnosis.

Dental sealants also interfere with laser cavity detection. In order to use the laser, we must first remove your sealants.

We can use other measures to diagnose caries. We still have digital x-rays, visual inspection, and plenty of preventative measures to keep your teeth healthy. We use all of the methods available in order to protect your teeth.

If you have questions about laser cavity detection, please give us a call.

Laser cavity detection is a relatively new innovation used to detect cavities that are inside your teeth. It only takes a few bacteria to eat away at the inside of your teeth. Because enamel is harder and stronger than ever, thanks to fluoride, x-rays cannot penetrate your enamel to see what is going on inside your tooth. That is where laser cavity detection comes in.

Not only can we use lasers to detect cavities, but we can also use the measurements to see if the decay has grown in size or remained the same. We can also use the lasers to determine how extensive the decay is and whether we should treat it immediately.

Laser cavity detection does have its limitations. When you already have composite fillings, we cannot use the laser to detect cavities because the composite material interferes with the laser and gives inaccurate readings. Sealants also prevent the lasers from working properly.

If you have old amalgam fillings, we can use the laser to take measurements around the margin of your old fillings in case the margins are breaking down and allowing cavities to form.

Combining all of our tools provides us with an arsenal of protection against some of the most common dental conditions.

At Dr. Reagan Grizzle’s Sugar Land, TX dental office, we believe that any way that we can use technology to help our patients creates exceptional value and the best dentistry available. Because we focus on prevention, we decided to utilize DIAGNOdent laser cavity detection to help our patients maintain a healthy smile.

The smallest compromise in the enamel of your teeth can allow microscopic bacteria to enter. The bacteria create an acidic environment in your mouth and can create cavities. If those cavities are underneath your tooth’s enamel, it may not show up on an x-ray. This is why the DIAGNOdent is so useful.

DIAGNOdent works by treating your tooth with a specific laser wavelength. When the tooth is healthy, little or no fluorescence is exhibited and the readings are very low. When decay (caries) is present, the tooth displays fluorescence in proportion to the severity of the caries and results in a high reading. Lasers can detect cavities where the human eye and x-rays cannot.

In addition to providing a reading, the DIAGNOdent laser also identifies the area in your tooth where the decay is present so that Dr. Grizzle can efficiently and accurately remove the decay, sterilize your tooth, and fill it so that it is protected.

Dental technology is improving every day. Some of that technology helps with detection like digital x-rays and the DIAGNOdent laser. Prevention is the best thing we can do to help support your dental health. If you experience a problem and we are able to diagnose it early, we might be able to keep your expenses and the severity of treatment to a minimum. Dr. Reagan Grizzle believes in prevention, early diagnosis, and conservative treatment when taking care of his valued patients.

Our office uses the DIAGNOdent laser to help us find cavities when they are still very small and easily treatable with conservative, less-invasive measures. We use a handheld device to run a laser light over your teeth. The light provides readings that give us information about the composition of your teeth. Using this laser, we can even detect cavities that are forming under your enamel. We believe in prevention and early detection, and the DIAGNOdent laser is a part of that plan.

We are committed to the health of our patients and we utilize the tools we have available to make sure you stay healthy and cavity-free. We treat our patients like family and that includes helping to prevent pain and deep decay.

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