New camera gives 3D inspection of teeth

A BALLARAT dental clinic is one of the first practices in Australia to use a newly developed decay detecting diagnostic camera, which is able to see inside a patient’s tooth without using an x-ray.

Dentist Dr Jeremy Schocroft uses the decay-detecting diagnostic camera to check Erin Jackson’s teeth. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Dentist Dr Jeremy Schocroft uses the decay-detecting diagnostic camera to check Erin Jackson’s teeth. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

The DiagnoCam, created by German dental manufacturer KaVo, is a world-first diagnostic camera that plugs into a computer and captures a three-dimensional image on video of a tooth to be assessed for decay by a dentist.

The Digital Imagery Fibre Optic Trans Illumination method works by using a laser wavelength of light that shines up through the tooth and onto a live camera. 

The image is then able to record the internal changes of teeth, assisting dentists to more readily determine the cause of a tooth breakage or decay.

Dentist Jeremy Schocroft, of Wendouree Dental Clinic, has used the new technique, released in Australia on May 10, on more than 20 patients.

The $10,000 machine is the first to be used in regional Victoria. Dr Schocroft said the 3D video images were a “vast improvement” on the two-dimensional images that x-rays provided because the advanced images more accurately showed the level of decay in a tooth. 

He said the technology gave an image of decay entering teeth from the top, in between or around the edges of a failing filling. 

Dr Schocroft said the method would be especially beneficial for children.

“It can be very hard to see inside kids’ teeth because sometimes the x-rays don’t fit inside the children’s mouths as easily as an adult,” he said. “But this method is more easy to manoeuvre around the teeth and far less intimidating for children. It is also able to a detect early signs of decay so it can be seen as a preventive method of dental health in children as well.” 

But he added that x-rays might still be required to assess teeth which were difficult to view, including those below the gum line and in the bone. 

Dr Schocroft hosted a seminar on the concept for other dentists in Ballarat last Thursday.

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