There’s a new sheriff in town….

west seattle dentistAnd it won’t let any cavities slip by!  I was at my West Seattle dentist‘s office (Dr. Kirchner of course) for my 6 month check up and Lacey had something new to add to the check up process.  She whipped out a little camera the size of a pen and started moving it around my mouth and taking pictures.  As she snapped photos, my teeth popped up on the computer screen, now humongous!  I had no idea there were so many bubbles that hung out on my teeth!  And I had no idea that it looked like there were so many cracks on my teeth!  When Dr. Kirchner came in to do my exam, she discovered that I had several areas that were suspect (that’s dentist talk for “its a cavity”).  While I’m embarrassed that I had more than zero cavities at my last check up, I’m glad that with the aid of the camera, Dr. Kirchner was able to see better and more easily where they were in my mouth.  The camera is called a CariVu!

What is a CariVu exactly?

From the CariVu website:

DEXIS CariVu™ is a compact, portable caries detection device that uses patented transillumination technology to support the identification of occlusal, interproximal and recurrent carious lesions and cracks.


Yeah, I barely understood that myself, but what it said is a CariVu is a little camera that uses a really bright light that shines through the tooth and helps Dr. Kirchner see cavities that are already formed or forming on the tops of the teeth or in between two teeth.  When she uses that image, along with an x-ray of the tooth, she is better able to identify cavities when they are tiny and treat them.  Remember, in Dr. Kirchner’s office, we love to be conservative and catch things when they are small.

What do the images look like?

Glad you asked!  Look and observe:
west seattle dentist


The dark area on the left side of the tooth (where the arrow is pointing) is a cavity.  It would be hard to see it by just looking at the tooth.  The x-ray would show it but you can truly see how big it is with the help of the light (or the transillumination) from the CariVu.




Same story here.  The dark tunnel on the right side of the tooth (where the arrow is pointing) is also a cavity.  Again you could probably see it well enough with the x-ray, but you can see also the width of it with the help of the CaviVu.

Now make no mistake: This in no way replaces the necessity of x-rays!  This is simply a tool used in conjunction with x-rays to better determine if the cavity is small enough to watch or big enough to go ahead and fill.

Time for your check up?  Call the office today and make an appointment!

Next up:  Having problems getting your kids to brush for 2 minutes?  Check back soon to find the slam dunk method to get them to brush for 2 minutes! (Stop laughing, its totally possible!)