The Canary System

Author : Dental Product Shopper
Published Date 05/14/2014
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Accurate and quantitative caries detection

I discovered The Canary System through social media. I like to stay abreast of new product developments and technological advancements, and social media is one of my primary resources. A colleague posted details about the success he?d had with a new early caries detection system. My interest was piqued! I did some additional research and armed with that information, I went to see The Canary System at the 2013 Yankee Dental Congress.

What impressed me most was that The Canary System claimed to detect caries not only on virgin teeth, but also on teeth with sealants, composites, amalgams, and even crowns. I purchased the unit at the show and can affirm the claims are true.

Crystal Structure 

Instead of fluorescence, The Canary System measures the level of crystallization, which in turn indicates the amount of caries. Decayed tissue exhibits less crystallization, which results in a higher numeric reading on Canary. The higher the number, the more advanced the decay. 

Low readings appear in green on the display, indicating no treatment is needed. High readings appear in red, suggesting immediate action. Middle-range readings appear in yellow, and allow me to intervene at the earliest stages--either through remineralization therapy or conservative restorative treatment. This fits in well with my minimally invasive philosophy.

Additionally, when The Canary System takes a reading, the numeric value is presented both audibly and visually. The verbal response and visual color-coded cues are great for patient education and motivation, providing a ?second opinion? to confirm my diagnosis.

The Canary System has surprised me a few times, as well. There have been cases where I thought, on first examination, that patients had active caries. Then I checked the area with The Canary System, and the low numeric readings indicated that no treatment was necessary at that time. That goes a long way in fostering patient confidence and lets us use The Canary System to monitor suspicious areas over time. 

Case in Point

Recently, I was trying to encourage a patient who had just completed a long Invisalign treatment to replace several of his many old amalgams. He was adamant, not wanting to undergo any more treatment, so I proposed checking those teeth with The Canary System. The numbers were off the chart, indicating rampant decay. Convinced by the readings, he opted to have 2 of the teeth treated. When I removed the amalgams, I found huge lesions dangerously close to the nerve. I explained that, had we waited longer, he?d have needed much more extensive treatment, most likely root canal therapy. He relented and we successfully treated all the involved teeth with the most conservative procedures possible. 

Everyday Workhorse

The system is intuitive and easy to learn, so my team was able to start using it immediately. I have 1 unit that we use between 2 hygiene operatories. All new hygiene patients are screened using The Canary System, usually by the hygienists. If I notice suspicious areas, I?ll walk the patient to a hygiene room to check them myself with The Canary System. It?s a valuable day-to-day workhorse and helps our team to be better diagnosticians and provide better care. The Canary System has been key in increasing case acceptance and promoting our practice as cutting-edge.