Formulating the most comprehensive diagnosis for patients is a challenging goal. Digital imaging plays a very important part in achieving that objective. My digital imaging system (DEXIS) emits a lower radiation dose than traditional film X-rays and many other systems, but there are still patients who are reluctant to have any radiation exposure. Images from DEXIS’ CariVu™ caries detection device helps me diagnose and treat patients according to their individual needs and to support the identification of occlusal, interproximal and recurrent carious lesions and cracks — all without ionizing radiation.
Patients who can benefit from no-dose imaging span different ages and medical factors.
Pregnancy: Even with appropriate shielding, many patients are concerned about radiation exposure during those special nine months. If I suspect caries, having a no-radiation* option is ideal. Once I explain about the safe, near-infrared light used in CariVu transillumination technology, patients become more comfortable.
Other medical-related issues that preclude radiographic imaging: People who have previously had radiation therapy or oral cancer often need or want to forego X-rays. I recently treated a patient who had extensive jaw surgery to resect her mandible, and she had limited opening of her mouth. It was helpful to have the CariVu available to see the extent of decay and formulate a plan of care.
Seniors: When I suspect a crack in older patients’ teeth, CariVu gives me a quick and efficient way to actually see the crack, determine if caries is present, and decide on appropriate treatment. The CariVu can diagnose fractures that aren’t readily visible with standard X-rays.
Children: Some parents are resistant to X-raying their children even at the lowest radiation dose. Others don’t see the value in treating baby teeth that will eventually fall out! CariVu is easy to use and fast so the clinician can capture an image even on an uncooperative child. The clear, radiograph-type images engage and fascinate both the parent and the patient.
CariVu images have also given me an extra level of documentation. Including a CariVu image along with my usual imaging documentation for insurance claims can help the insurance carrier make the most informed decisions when deciding on benefits.
If I detect a suspicious area on a radiograph, I can call in my CariVu for a “second opinion.” It has been shown to have an interproximal dentin caries detection rate of 99%.** Patients who want to avoid radiation can still continue on a path to oral health. All of my patients appreciate that I have various technologies to serve them best — the lowest dose of radiation from my X-rays and CariVu with no radiation.
*CariVu uses no ionizing radiation.
**Proximal dentin lesions represented in CariVu™ images correlate to the actual condition in the tooth with 99% accuracy. Study data on file.
Kühnisch J. Benefits of the DIAGNOcam Procedure for the Detection and Diagnosis of Caries [study project]. Munich: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; 2013.
About the Author: William J. McKibben, DDS, graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 1978. He is a member of the American Dental Association, California Dental Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Pacific Academy of Interdisciplinary Dentistry, and the Harbor Dental Society. He is on the faculty of Esthetic Professionals of Tarzana, California, and has completed an Advanced Occlusion Residency, Advanced Fixed Prosthodontics Residency, and Comprehensive Esthetic Residency. He is currently in private practice in Long Beach, California.