{ The Online Blog }


Oct 2023

i Tero 5D scanner and NIRI technology

Minimally Invasive Dentistry

We are huge advocates of minimally invasive dentistry and have been preaching this philosophy for many years. Early detection, prevention and intervention when needed, will have far better outcomes in the long term. In terms of dentistry, tooth decay is one of our most common diseases to treat. In the days of the past, teeth were heavily drilled with large cavities made so that amalgam ( metal ) fillings could be packed in. This would seem quite archaic now and thankfully, we have vastly superior solutions.

Early detection is key

In terms of tooth decay, the earlier we can detect a carious lesion the more effective the treatment and long term outcome. The latest technology in terms of early diagnosis is called NIRI - near infra red imaging using our i Tero 5D intra oral scanner. The scanner uses light at a wavelength of 850Nm which is either scattered by healthy enamel or absorbed by de mineralised tooth or tooth decay. On the scan, this appears as an opaque ( white) lesion hence it is readily visible. Studies have shown that this is 66% more effective than a traditional 2D x ray and there is no harmful radiation involved:

Metzger Z, Colson D G, Bown P, Weihard T, Baresel I, Nolting T. Reflected near-infrared light versus bite-wing radiography for the detection of proximal caries: A multicenter prospective clinical study conducted in private practices. J Dent2021; doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2021.103861.

i Tero 5D Element Scanner

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Here, Dr Nissit Patel has scanned a patient and is using the NIRI technology to check for inter proximal caries.

A suspect area on a tooth

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There is a suspect area on a premolar tooth which could be tooth decay. However, visual detection is not always reliable and early areas may not even show on x rays. This is where NIRI is in a league of its own.

NIRI in action

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An opaque area readily visible on the NIRI scan. This is tooth decay and should be treated early for the best long term outcome.

Treatment of tooth decay

In most cases, we can use our amazing Waterlase i Plus dental laser to treat these early lesions without the need for drilling or needles and with ultra minimal preparations. The use of multiple advanced technologies can have a profound effect on treatment and is a real paradigm shift away from dentistry as we used to know it!


Mar 2017