by Dr Troy Clifford, North Lakes Family Smile, QLD
In all honesty, over the three years I’ve been using the Diagnocam, it has nearly become indispensable. Not only does it show cavities but also cracks and thin enamel defects that just can’t be picked up on X-ray. It’s an incredibly useful adjunct.
What’s good about it
The Diagnocam is an intra-oral camera that passes an infrared laser through a tooth and then captures the transillumination pattern. The patient can also see what’s happening in real time on a computer screen. While the Diagnocam is designed to identify caries, it also does an excellent job at picking up cracks in the enamel. It highlights any general changes in the consistency of the enamel or the dentine, particularly at the dentinoenamel junction.
One of the benefits of Diagnocam over an X-ray is you can move it in real time. If you suspect something might be a shadow or a reflection, you just have to move the camera around until you’re confident in what you’re seeing. Moving the light source will quickly reveal if you’re investigating a static area or a transient reflection off another surface.
What’s not so good
The Diagnocam needs quite a bit of sterilising so it often can’t be used during back-to-back appointments. The results don’t reveal anything from a transverse aspect. It’s similar to an X-ray in that they both don’t reveal the full three dimensions. While an X-ray can identify the depth and position of a cavity, it can’t reveal the width or if it bends. The Diagnocam can reveal the width and shape of a cavity but not how deep it goes. When using the Diagnocam—or any tool—you need to ask yourself if you need more information before picking up a drill.