Researchers in Australia and Taiwan have
developed a new way to
assess the condition
of human tooth enamel using lasers. The process, explained in the August 31, 2009, issue
Optic Express,
evaluates the mineral content of enamel by measuring how the surface
of a tooth responds to the laser-generated ultrasound. This is
the first time a nondestructive
means of measuring the elasticity of human
teeth has developed, and the process could be
used to predict emerging dental problems like decay, lesions, and caries. The process is
still being tested and has only been performed
on human extracted teeth. It will likely be
several years before a device is available
to dentists for use in their practice.

Although this type of laser is new, we’ve been
using a laser in our office for years to help
us detect cavities. This unit, called a DIAGNODENT, has been very effective in helping
us to find hidden decay.