Detecting Decay And Avoiding The Drill

By the time an x-ray can detect tooth decay, it's time for the dreaded drill. (Not surprisingly, that's exactly what keeps many people out of the dentist chair every year.) So, scientists have been developing a way to painlessly detect the very earliest signs of decay, before there's a need for drilling.

Soon, we may see technology that allows dentists to simply point an optical fiber at a tooth and detect the earliest-and reversible-decay. Measures could then be taken to prevent further decay, and consequent drilling, including fluoride treatments and special mouthwashes.

This method could arrive in dentist offices in as little as five years-but we don't recommended waiting that long for your next appointment!