The traditional dental checkup was only meant to check for cavities or breaks in our teeth, but the study of dentistry has came quite a ways since its humble beginning. San Diego Pediatric Dentists learned it included poking and stabbing on the teeth with a sharp pointed instrument, aka the dental explorer or dental probe. In San Diego CA, we use a much different approach now.
Now dentists are doing a lot more than just looking for holes, though we still diagnose caries lesions. Parents may notice that we hardly use a dental explorer anymore. We tend to rely mostly on a visual examination of the teeth. We dry teeth off and use magnification loupes to evaluate the tooth surface. If using an explorer, it is to remove soft plaque or stain of the teeth, or to feel for roughness of the surface.
Caries diagnosis is getting more advanced in San Diego CA. Research has shown San Diego Pediatric Dentists that an explorer can actually harm the teeth. If this instrument is not used correctly, it can create lesions on teeth, like small groves. This can quickly spread bacteria from tooth to tooth. A visual exam supplemented with digital x-rays has become our preferred method of choice based upon our research. Once in a while we might ask for an explorer to evaluate a specific lesion, but be assured, it will not be to poke around on all teeth. Those days should be long over with the Children’s Dentistry of San Diego at (858) 536-1111.