A while back, I had just been to the dentist and was feeling pretty proud of my cavity-free mouth, when I received an e-mail from DEXIS inviting me to learn about and train on their new caries detection device, CariVu™. Don't tell anyone at DEXIS, but I groaned inside. I've been in dentistry for 20 years and have seen and evaluated a lot of caries detection devices. A few were good, but more were not that impressive. All the caries detection devices that I had used gave information that was highly subjective and sometimes difficult to interpret. However, I knew that DEXIS doesn’t put its name on anything but the best, so I decided to participate.
After receiving the unit and reviewing the few simple instructions, I put it in my own mouth. As I played with the positioning on the tooth, it didn’t take long for me to get a clear image of the area. I began to move it around, and then there it was—a cavity on the mesial of tooth #12! I thought it had to be a mistake so I pulled it out and tried again. There it was again!
I continued to move the CariVu tip across my other teeth. When I got to tooth #20, I didn't like the darkening I saw around the edges and under my old amalgam restoration. What? The CariVu can show me what's happening around amalgams? Notwithstanding my dismay at another lesion, I was amazed at this new technology! Being able to detect caries around restorations is incredible! None of the detectors I have used had this capability.
I continued my search and found yet another interproximal cavity staring at me on the distal of #21! I was curious what the CariVu would show me on a tooth with a composite filling. I placed it over one of my back molars that had been restored years ago with composite material. While I didn’t see beneath the composite, I did get a really unique view of the edges around my composite and the fracture running from the edge of the fill down the lingual surface. The edges didn't look very sealed, and the fracture line that was very apparent on the image explained the occasional biting sensitivity I experience.
At this point, I loved what CariVu could show me—what amazing technology! Being the patient, I have to admit I was a little depressed to find out I had cavities! But I was glad to find them when they were small so they could be repaired without losing a lot of tooth structure.
I don't blame my dentist for not finding these cavities at my exam. He is an excellent dentist. The truth is that amalgam fillings can often block out decay from view, so he wouldn't have seen it on any radiograph. My cavity on #21 was missed due to a slight overlap in the bitewing radiograph. And the one on tooth #12 was detectable on the radiograph, but as they often do, it didn't appear large enough for him to treat. Now, I consider myself to be an above average patient when it comes to home care. I floss everyday and brush at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste. I don't drink heavily sugared drinks and limit my soda intake. So, if I can find unexpected cavities in my own mouth using the CariVu, I think dentists might be surprised at what they will find on their broad spectrum of patients.
CariVu not only allows us to see and verify what shows on our radiographs, but it also allows us a view we've never had before that can help us catch caries sooner. Finally, I’ve found a caries detection device that I can honestly say that I love!
Content provided by Eileen Boren, RDH, Certified DEXIS Instructor
More information on CariVu can be found at www.dexis.com\carivu.
Indications for use: www.dexis.com\ifu