While the explorer is still widely used to evaluate a patient for caries, cutting edge caries detection systems are changing the way some practices screen and treat patients. Capable of detecting and assessing carious lesions earlier and in more locations, some caries detection units feature lasers that cause fluorescence of the tooth while others use trans illumination to see through the enamel. Regardless of the specific detection technology being used, all of these systems can help you discover caries at earlier stages when minimally invasive treatment options might be applicable. While some detection technologies are integrated into intraoral cameras, other systems are standalone units.

Detecting the bacteria associated with caries can make a real difference in overall patient care. Early detection is often the key to effective caries management. Although the tooth may appear healthy on the surface, its real condition underneath the surface—especially true for fissure caries—is often hard to detect. Use of an explorer can lead to cavitation of early lesions preventing remineralization due to the surface disruption or may lead to an acceleration of the caries process when the weak enamel overlaying the demineralized area is physically broached by an instrument.
Enhanced caries detection, which supports minimally invasive treatment regimens, along with simplified case presentations, make Spectra an innovative, indispensable tool.
This offers a different view to noninvasive caries detection, enabling reliable tooth-by-tooth detection of fissure caries and caries on smooth surfaces. While other devices use numeric indicators to signal the presence of decay, it uses a color visual system with software analysis to provide a picture of the tooth with visual representation of where tooth structure is deteriorating. Spectra is a fluorescence-based caries detection system that has received FDA clearance.LEDs project high-energy blue light onto the tooth surface. Light of this wavelength stimulates bacteria to fluoresce red, whereas healthy enamel fluoresces green.