by Dr Ernest Yeo, Photogenic Dental, Parkwood, WA
The DIAGNCOcam uses a near infrared laser to transilluminate through the tooth structure. It helps us to assess and digitally capture an image of how far decay and cracks are progressing interproximally and occlusally.
What’s good about it
One of the most difficult things in dentistry is diagnosing what you can’t see and communicating the problem to clients. Previously, we had to use X-rays or clinical experience to work out if there’s decay starting in areas that can’t be visually accessed. The DIAGNOcam is of great assistance in overcoming this issue.
It takes an image of areas where decay is suspected or where there have been changes to the enamel noted at the clinical exam. In conjunction with our X-rays and clinical wisdom, it allows us to more accurately diagnose and treat carious lesions, especially early interproximal lesions. Sufficient evidence is collected to indicate treatment or to undergo a review process.
These digital images allow us to monitor how much change has happened at future review appointments. It makes it very easy to see if the decay is getting larger or smaller. This in turn makes it a very good communication tool with clients. Rather than just taking the dentist’s word for it, we can quantitatively show them what’s happening. It encourages patients to implement preventative measures to stop the problem progressing and to come back for another check-up to monitor the lesion’s progression.
What’s not so good
It’s important to remember that the DIAGNOcam is not 100 per cent diagnostic. If it highlights a suspicious area between the teeth, that doesn’t necessarily mean caries is present. You still need to use your clinical wisdom, tools such as X-rays and take into account other factors in the mouth. Additionally, it is a Windows-based system so we have to use other software to make it compatible with the Macs in our practice. There is some loss of functionality by doing this.