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New Techniques in Dentistry


Special equipment involving ultrasonic depth testing has recently been developed to help measure the strength of a tooth and display it in picture form on a computer screen.20 It is now easier for a dentist to detect weakness in your tooth in time to warn you of an impending cavity. With that knowledge you could go home and rebuild your tooth using the repair process I describe in chapter 13. It is relatively easy to monitor the effects that products have on teeth because changes can be observed and measured. For example, if a product claims to strengthen or repair your teeth, you may notice the difference yourself, but we now have the technology to measure tooth strength and confirm if such claims are true. 21
Today it is possible to take a digital picture or make a videotape of a tooth and view a cavity healing and shrinking in size. You can literally watch tooth damage disappear as minerals go into a tooth and repair it.22 Your progress and improvement could be evaluated and measured at regular intervals with this kind of monitoring equipment.
To detect areas of softening not yet visible to the eye, special lights with attached computer systems have been developed. One method uses a Digital Imaging Fiber-Optic Trans-Illumination   and another, the DIAGNOdent laser, lights up bacteria by-products in a tooth  . There is also a fluorescent light, called the InspektorPro, which shows the relative strength of a tooth  . The light causes a pattern that can be seen on a computer screen, with different colors corresponding to various degrees of tooth hardness.23 This kind of light can therefore be used to show if, and by how much, a tooth has hardened up after a patient has used tooth-restoring measures. This method will eliminate the guesswork and help patients, and dentists, see that preventive treatments are working. If your dentist informs you that a tooth or teeth are starting to soften, you would then have time to prevent a cavity by using healing methods in a dental office or at home before the damage becomes irreversible. You should be visiting the dentist for a screening to help you prevent cavities rather than for treatments and fillings.24
Many people find this idea exciting, especially if the result is a lifetime of perfect teeth. Some dentists, on the other hand, do not think a cavity is a big deal; they may lack confidence in tooth repair and may have never seen a tooth rebuild itself. These dentists may worry that if a patient does not comply well enough, a small cavity could progress and become bigger. A home repair method depends on you, not the professional skill of the dentist. Such concerns may be reasons why dentists have ignored natural repair, choosing fillings instead. I believe that patients should be given the chance to choose between natural repair to heal a tooth and traditional repair with a filling.

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