In tonight's HealthierMe, Doppler technology helps us predict storms, and now a similar technology is helping dentists!
Christin Quarry is a busy nursing student who admits she hasn't been to the dentist in a while. She wants to see how her teeth are doing, and this new technology, called Spectra, is enabling her to do just that -- without an x-ray!
Dr. Parag Kachalia, who uses Spectra technology to get a sophisticated image his patients' teeth, says, "there's no radiation that's being used on an image like this." Blue indicates a high level of bacteria and red means the bacteria is already starting to penetrate the tooth enamel.
As Dr. Parag goes on to explain, "if I see an area where there's a concern, -- [even if] it's in a very, very early stage -- we can actually implement preventive therapies. So we don't have to get to a filling. We can talk about different fluoride regimens, different brushing techniques."
Because the Spectra pictures capture decay early, even if a filling is necessary, patients often only need a tiny one, which may not even require anesthesia. Plus, these pictures have the added benefit of motivating patients to improve their habits, because it lets them clearly see the problem zones in their mouth -- "Here you're looking straight at your tooth," Dr. Parag says, "going, 'Oh my goodness, OK, I do have to floss,' or, 'Yeah, I need to brush more.'"
The images also provide a great baseline picture for the patient, so when he or she comes back, it is easy to see if the changes he or she has made to his or her hygiene regiment have been successful.
The Spectra technology also has no radiation, easing safety concerns for some patients.