As a practicing dentist for more than 20 years, I have become a great believer in the power of technology. With the myriad types of equipment in the marketplace, it is difficult to single out one to recommend to my colleagues who are starting their careers or adding new technology to an existing practice. In my experience, the DEXIS™ CariVu caries detection device is a relatively inexpensive investment that has a big return. CariVu helps to improve my diagnostic capability, increases patient understanding and trust, and offers an extra level of imaging without ionizing radiation.
When patients are reluctant to have imaging that emits radiation, CariVu is the perfect alternative. For some, it may be too soon to take additional X-rays, even on a suspicious area. Pregnant women request this no-radiation option. Many cancer patients feel they have already been subjected to too much radiation in the course of their treatment. Even children who have bad gag reflexes or small mouths can benefit from this technology since it’s less invasive than X-ray devices. When I am unable to take X-rays due to radiation concerns, I feel extremely confident that I am not missing caries because I can use this adjunct device. CariVu cannot replace X-rays because I still need to see the bone levels and other structures, but we should cater to those patients who are adamant about avoiding radiation when possible, and this is one way to do it.
Of course, X-rays are an important part of dental diagnostics. I am very confident about the clarity of my DEXIS™ Platinum digital X-ray system; however, due to density differences in healthy and non-healthy tooth structure, these areas can be washed out and not appear until there is predominantly more caries than healthy enamel. These areas can go undetected on images from any X-ray system. CariVu is one of my most impressive diagnostic tools that has a great amount of accuracy. That is not just my opinion — studies have shown a 99% accuracy rate.* For years, I had been looking for fracture lines with my curing light. CariVu’s technology betters older-style transillumination because the light shines on both sides of the tooth, and it allows me to view, freeze, capture and save images within my imaging software. I can then know the exact location of the decay or fracture immediately when used on a patient—especially for education, or anytime I revisit their images.
In my opinion, every practicing dentist should have CariVu as part of his/her imaging armamentarium. Currently, CariVu is used in two areas of my office — as part of my comprehensive evaluation of every new patient and in my hygiene area. My hygienists are trained to scan patients so that I can review images during examination. My goal is to have a CariVu in each hygiene room in addition to my treatment rooms. In my opinion, hygienists should be using this on a daily basis. While you cannot put a price on diagnostic value, this device is a small investment for a large return, both clinically and financially. CariVu is a total game changer.
*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: Dr. Joseph A. Favia is a graduate of Loyola University School of Dentistry. He has taken advanced dental education from The Peter Dawson Academy for Advanced Dental Education, The Pankey Institute, and an Advanced Bone Grafting mentorship with Dr. Joel Rosenlicht. Dr. Favia founded The Midwest Surgical Institute for Dental Implants and teaches implant surgical procedures internationally. He maintains a private practice in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He has no financial interest in DEXIS, LLC.