While our family has enjoyed a number of these heavenly songbirds as family pets over the years, this “Canary” is not an actual bird but a new technology. Like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine”, this Canary is also used to detect subtle changes thereby preventing future problems.
The Canary System
Known as The Canary System, “it is a precise, low-powered laser based instrument that detects the presence of cracks and tooth decay before they are large enough to appear on dental x-rays. When placed on the tooth, a low-powered, pulsating laser light is shone on the tooth during a 3 second scan. Measuring the crystal structure of the tooth, the laser light can penetrate below the tooth surface and permit detection of tooth decay as small as 50 microns (20 times smaller than a millimeter) and as deep as 5mm from the tooth surface”.
Using a complex algorithm, The Canary System converts the information obtained into a Canary Number on a scale from 0 to 100. The lower the number the healthier the enamel, the higher the number the higher suggestion of cracks and tooth decay.
There are a quite a number of evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies to support this new technology. In fact, an independent clinical study led by Dr. Ben Amaechi at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, released on March 18, 2015, found The Canary System “to exhibit superior performance compared to bitewing radiography for the detection of proximal caries”.
To put this simply for the public; The Canary System is more accurate than check-up x-rays! And in case you did not realize this yet, there is no radiation!
I have wanted to have this technology in my office for the last 4 years so that we are able to monitor remineralization therapy; the healing of teeth. I do believe that our teeth are no different than any other part of the body. Given the raw materials that they need and stopping the behavior that caused the problem in the first place, if it is not too advanced, we can reverse and repair the damage. Now, we have an objective way to measure that healing.
I have signed-up for a webinar this afternoon to help me better understand how to use this wonderful, new technology and how I can incorporate it into my daily clinical practice. Hopefully, as The Canary System becomes more widely used and accepted, it will become a standard of care in all dental offices.
Until next time,