The next wave of dental technology may include decay detection. A US patent has been awarded for the Ortek ECD system for detecting early or pre-cavity lesions that can’t be readily detected by visual examination or x-ray. In human and laboratory clinical studies, the Ortek ECD detected the earliest stages of tooth demineralization or pre-cavity lesions with 100% accuracy.
The Ortek ECD is designed to detect pre-cavity lesions in molars and premolars, which have the highest rates of decay. Tooth enamel is electrically nonconductive unless it’s breached by demineralization or fracture. When that occurs, dentinal fluid percolates through the breached enamel and enables the battery-powered Ortek ECD to complete its electrical circuit.
With its handpiece and probe tip, the Ortek ECD is designed to precisely measure the amount of dentinal fluid seepage. The more fluid it detects, the greater the extent of the pre-cavity lesion. Dentists can use this data to determine the severity of any lesions and design an appropriate treatment plan that could include minimally invasive care.
“We believe the ECD is a major breakthrough in oral care,” said Mitchell Goldberg, president of Ortek Therapeutics, Inc. “Dental professionals soon will have a new and valuable tool that will help their patients avoid cavities. We are now evaluating commercialization strategies and are pursuing US FDA and worldwide marketing clearances.”
US Patent 9,277,875, “Device for the Detection of Non-Cavitated Early Dental Caries Lesions,” was issued to the Research Foundation for the State University of New York. The technology was developed at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine.