It's no surprise that catching a cavity when it's small is better than catching it after it's had some time to grow. Smaller cavities are easier and cheaper to fix, and tend to experience fewer complications than their larger counterparts. Catching and fixing cavities when they're smaller leaves more healthy tooth remaining so that tooth will typically last longer than a heavily restored one. Early diagnosis of cavities is a difficult thing to do. Visually a tooth may appear totally healthy but may have a fair amount of decay present just below the surface. The biting surface is surprisingly difficult to diagnose an early cavity on as the surrounding tooth will obscure the cavity on an x-ray. Even with the newest x-ray technologies, this is still a very prevalent problem. There is hope! Lasers have been used in dentistry to "drill" out cavities and for gum surgery. Now lasers are being employed to aid in detecting early cavities on the biting surfaces of the teeth. While not a substitute for standard x-rays, these new class of low power lasers are highly accurate in determining when a tooth has a small cavity starting. An additional benefit is they provide an actual reading or number. This value can be used to monitor the early cavity so the dentist can tell if the cavity has progressed, stayed the same, or even gotten better (early cavities can sometimes get better when they are present only in the outer shell of the enamel of the tooth). These tools provides the dentist with the information they need to warn patients of the developing cavity so they can take extra precautions to better clean the area. Dr. Bowes has recently acquired his second laser to ensure that one is available should it be needed during your regular check-up. If there's a spot you're worried about don't hesitate to ask Dr. Bowes and he can check it for you.