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An Update on Demineralization/Remineralization

Course Number: 73

The Canary System

One final caries diagnostic system is one known as the Canary System.

The Canary System - Figure 1

According to the company website:

“The Canary System is a precise, low-powered, laser-based instrument with an integrated intraoral camera that detects the presence of cracks and caries (tooth decay) before they are large enough to appear on dental X-rays. Intraoral camera images can be displayed for immediate chair side review with the patient. A patient report is generated containing an odontogram with Canary Numbers, which are color-coded for the examined teeth, along with the dentist’s treatment recommendation. This report can also be examined by the patient on The Canary Cloud.”

In describing how the system works, the following information is provided:

“When placed on the tooth surface, a low-powered, pulsating laser light is shone on the tooth during a 3 second scan. The pulses of laser light generate photothermal (PTR) and luminescence (LUM) responses. By using a laser pulse at a frequency of 2Hz, the laser light can penetrate below the tooth surface and permit detection of a carious lesion as small as 50 microns (20 times smaller than a millimeter) and as deep as 5 mm from the tooth surface.”

An explanation of the Canary scale is also offered:

“A Canary Number is the output generated by The Canary System to inform the oral health care professional about the probable health status of a given tooth. Using a complex algorithm, The Canary System converts the unique PTR/LUM signatures into a Canary Number on a scale from 0 to 100 which appears on a monitor screen and is also audible. Lower numbers suggest healthy enamel and higher numbers suggest the presence of cracks and caries.”

Finally, as noted by the company when describing the benefits of this particular system over others:

The Canary System is the only caries detection system that:

  • Analyzes and measures the crystal structure of the tooth

  • Measures up to a depth of 5 mm

  • Detects decay on all tooth surfaces including:

    • Around and beneath the intact margins of restorations including amalgam, composites and crowns

    • Smooth surfaces,

    • Occlusal pits and fissures, including beneath stained areas

    • Around orthodontic brackets

    • Interproximal regions

    • Beneath opaque and transparent dental sealants