New technology may prevent costly cavities - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

New technology may prevent costly cavities

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ALPHARETTA, GA (CBS46) -

Patrick Hayde knows that every time he forgets to brush and floss, his risk of costly cavities goes up.

"One cavity can cost a couple hundred dollars to repair and if they can see the long term benefit of good dental hygiene, then obviously, it's going to affect our pocketbook in a positive way," said Patrick's mom, Liz.

But new technology called Spectra is cutting down on time spent in the dentist chair and keeping more of your money in the bank.

Dr. Mike Golsen says Spectra works sort of like Doppler radar. It measures tooth decay by color.

"Where we see blue is enamel that has de-mineralized. When you see red, the decay has penetrated the enamel and is now into the soft part of the tooth," Golsen explained.

Unfortunately, 12-year-old Patrick needed a filling. But if Spectra catches a cavity early enough, your dentist may not have to drill as much, or maybe not at all.

"First benefit is we're able to conserve tooth structure. Second is it reduces cost to the consumer or the patient," Golsen said.

And unlike a traditional x-ray, Spectra can spot decay on top of the tooth, before you feel any pain.

"If you feel pain, you have a real problem and that problem gets very expensive," Golsen said.

Crowns, root canals and implants can cost up to $7,000, so early detection is key to saving you money.

And one less obvious benefit - your child may no longer dread going to the dentist.

"Makes it more exciting, I guess - if you can call coming to the dentist exciting - for them because they're not afraid of any procedure that's going to be done," Hayde said.

Parents will also appreciate that there's no radiation involved, as with x-rays. And taking care of cavities means your child won't miss as much school.

Spectra is offered at Golsen Family Dentistry in Alpharetta, Dentistry at Sugarloaf in Duluth, and Braelinn Village Family Dentistry in Peachtree City.

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