Spectra is a camera like device that uses fluorescing LED violet-blue lights to measure cavity causing bacteria without the use of radiation in pits and grooves on the tooth surface. When the tooth is viewed with the camera, it will display an image that ranges from healthy green in color through the spectrum of blue, red ,orange or yellow (like a Doppler radar) with orange and yellow indicating the presence of cavity causing bacteria (Streptococcus mutans).
A numerical indicator between 1.0 and 5.0 also give a quantitative indication of the disease process. These images can be saved to the patients file for viewing and discussion, or comparison to future exams. The greatest asset of this system is it gives us another method of detecting cavities early, in addition to the standard visual and tactile exam by the dentist. This allows for early and much less invasive intervention if decay is detected. Minimally invasive dentistry is becoming the new standard for dental care and this is a great aid in accomplishing early, conservative care.
Spectra’s new technology is FDA approved and safe for use on both children and adults. Early detection means less use for anesthesia and needles and less drilling.