Question: I recently read an article in the AARP magazine that said when a dentist probes a soft spot on a tooth he could augment the decay process by spreading bacteria further into the tooth. Is this correct? C.G., Hobe Sound
A: Ah, the dreaded probe. You mean the “explorer,” a 4,000-year-old instrument used by the Egyptians and many a home hobbyist in assembling those pesky plastic models for Junior.
If the instrument is pressed too hard into a decalcified pit or fissure on the biting surface of a tooth, “cavitation” can occur, making the lesion more susceptible to decay. A better way to diagnose pit and fissure decay is with the Diagnodent, a laser decay detector that measures the bacteria at the bottom of fissures that are too narrow for the explorer to reach. Early diagnosis means treatment with small resin fillings. For a free guide on this, contact us.
Dr. Josephs practices Cosmetic, Implant and General Dentistry in Palm Beach and can be reached at email@example.com (888-378-6684) or visit www.palmbeachdentist.com