Doppler radar-like technology maps cavities

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by BRIANA BERMENSOLO & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on December 19, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 7:20 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Local dentists are using new technology they say is a lot like weather forecasting - and the Doppler radar-like technology may be changing just how fast cavities are found at the dentist’s office.

When weather forecasters use Doppler radar to talk about weather, they use color indicators to show where rain or snow is falling.  Dr. Todd Weller with North Spokane Dental sees similar imagery with the new dental technology.  Green colors on a map show healthy tooth structure; blue and red indicate early stages of tooth decay and yellow shows more serious tooth decay. 

“It'll predict where the storms are on the tooth,” said Weller.  “It'll tell me there's a really bad area on a certain location.”

When Weller heard about the new cavity detection technology a couple of years ago, he jumped at the chance to get his hands on the gear.

“To this day, in two years, it hasn't failed me yet.  It's been exactly right every time.”

Weller said he uses the Doppler-like technology on more than half of his patients.  The tiny camera used in the process, he added, eliminates the guesswork. 

Increased accuracy in some cases could mean a given patient would spend less time under the drill.

“I love having patients believe what I'm telling them,” Weller said.  “When I can put that picture up and show them where cavities [are] located [and] how deep it is…you can't really argue with it.” 

“The evidence is in the Doppler,” said Weller.

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