Spectra Caries Detection Aid (2013 Product Award)
- “Easy to use and no calibration required.”
- “Patients love to see the pictures of their teeth. They like the high-tech nature of the process, and it is a great motivator to follow through with treatment.”
- “Easy to use once installed properly. I really like this unit!”
- “Easy to see the lesion with the color display.”
- “We had some problems with the VISIX software.”
Spectra Caries Detection Aid is a digital imaging product used as an aid in caries detection. The hand-held unit is the size and shape of an intraoral camera and detects tooth decay by measuring increased light-induced fluorescence. Spectra is designed to identify cariogenic bacteria in fissures on occlusal surfaces. Spectra can also be used during the restorative phase to verify that all caries have been removed. A visual display on the monitor shows caries in red and healthy tooth enamel in green. Along with the colors, a numerical reading defines the potential caries activity on a scale from 0 to 5. The data captured by Spectra is automatically processed and can be viewed and stored within the patient’s electronic chart by using VISIX imaging software or most other TWAIN 2.1 compliant dental imaging software programs. When used with the VISIX software program, this can easily bridge/integrate with most other existing practice management software programs. Minimum computer requirements are: Pentium 4.2 GHz or higher, Windows XP Professional 32/64-bit processor; Microsoft Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate 32/64-bit processor; Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate 32/64-bit processor; DirectX 9 or later, RAM – 256 MB, CD-ROM drive – 24X or higher, monitor – SVGA 17” with 800 x 600 resolution or higher, video display adapter – 16 MB video card supporting 800 x 600 pixels with 32-bit color, USB Port – must be USB 2.0 high speed, high power port, keyboard/mouse – standard, and printer – optional. The package includes the Spectra handpiece, VISIX Software disk, operator’s manual, USB device, drivers disk, 50 disposable camera sheaths, 10 spacers, handpiece holder, USB cable, Quick Start instructions, and product literature. The VISIX software was installed and activated in all of the consultants’ offices and the Spectra Caries Detection Aid was utilized by nine consultants in 238 uses. It received a 91% clinical rating.
Using the Spectra camera requires simply plugging it into a USB port and activating the capture button. A hood over the tip of the camera maintains the proper distance between the lens and the surface of the tooth. Consultants reported that the resulting image was easy to read on the monitor. The color and numerical display creates a map on the surface of the tooth, guiding the dentist in diagnosis and areas to consider for treatment. For accurate results, it is critical that the surfaces to be examined are clean and free of plaque or debris. Some consultants had challenges with setting up the unit and with the VISIX software, especially integrating it with the practice management software. However, since the introduction of the TWAIN interface (after this evaluation) VISIX is no longer required to run Spectra. Forty-four percent of consultants reported that Spectra was better than their current method of caries detection and 44% reported it was equivalent. Fifty-six percent would switch to it and 56% would recommend it.
Use a prophy brush to clean the grooves before scanning the tooth. Tooth must be perfectly clean and dry to avoid a false positive.
Integrate into dental office software for seamless transition, usage, and data storage.