What does the patient experience when using the Carivu?  Do they have to bite on something like a digital x-ray?

During the simple and painless procedure, the patient can see the images and the dental staff can describe what’s going on inside the tooth. From the patient experience, it is no different from when their teeth are cleaned and when the staff uses the typical dental camera. The patient doesn’t have to bite down on anything. The dentist or hygienist just put the CariVu on the tooth to take a picture and can move the tip of the CariVu around the tooth they are looking at more closely to see inside the tooth from just about every angle. The CariVu can’t look at a tooth from below the jaw or gum line.

How does the CariVu help the patient?

Unlike x-rays, there no radiation involved when using CariVu. As well, it helps us see things that are usually difficult to see with other conventional imaging devices, especially in circumstances where a patient has been experiencing discomfort, but we’ve been unable to diagnose the issue before using CariVu. CariVu helps diagnose problems such as a crack in the tooth, or a filling that is leaking from the bottom that we weren’t initially able to be seen in an x-ray. Essentially, it’s an improved diagnostic tool that we now use. It also captures a photo of every tooth that we put the device on and we save these images in conjunction with x-rays that we’ve taken previously. All of these images reside in the patient’s file for future reference.

When do you use the Carivu? Do you only use it when you suspect a problem?

We use the CariVu on any patient where we think it can make a difference, and since there is no additional cost to the patient, it can help us explore more carefully when they are in-between x-rays. If the doctors suspect that a tooth looks like it may have a problem, or we just don’t like what we see, or there is something we can’t diagnose, we use the CariVu. Unlike other medical imaging devices, there is no charge to the patient. Often, patients object to x-rays because of the cost or because they don’t like the radiation, but with CariVu, you solve both of those problems.

Why is the latest dental technology so important?

Dr. Voyles and Dr. Cook believe it is worth investigating and investing in new dental technology that can potentially improve dental health outcomes for their patients. The CariVu is the perfect example of a new technology that has various uses that can benefit dental patients.  It is very comfortable for the patient, doesn’t use radiation, and there is no cost for the patient for the use of the CariVu. For patients that are wary of x-rays, there is now a helpful alternative.

If you find a lesion or cavity does that automatically mean you are going to recommend a dental procedure?

Most likely if we find a problem in the tooth and if that problem is significant then we recommend treatment. There are times when the issue is not yet significant and we are able to make a note in the patient’s file to watch it in the future.

If you find a cavity with the CariVu that is just starting to develop, what do you tell the patient? Is there anything the patient can do to keep it from getting worse?

If the issue is something really small, then what’s nice about the CariVu is that we have the ability to take a picture of the problem and then check on it again in six months to see if it has progressed, as well as continue to keep an eye on it in the future.

What is the difference between the tooth enamel and the dentin?

The enamel is the outside part of a tooth. It’s very hard like a fingernail. It doesn’t have water porosity and is a couple millimeters all around. Underneath the enamel is the dentin which is a very porous sponge-like material that allows all your sensitive to come through. Cavities start on the outside of a tooth enamel. As they get larger, they progress down into the dentin and that’s usually when a patient starts to feel sensitivity or pain.

What is interproximal decal?

It is a cavity that starts between the teeth. This type of cavity typically develops from a patient not flossing every day. Or it can be a patient over consuming sugary drinks because that sugar sits right in-between the teeth.