Scientists in Scotland have designed a device that could bring an end to the dreaded drilling and filling in the dentists' chair, Sky News reported Monday.
The CarieScan PRO clips onto the mouth and passes a small electrical current through the tooth.
Colors indicate the level of decay, giving dentists an accurate picture of the problem.
London-based dentist, Dr. Martin Delahaye, said the probe saves both time and money.
"What I've been able to do is diagnose decay early and make sure it's treated with fluoride varnish rather than putting in a filling," he said.
So far, 40 dentists are using the device, which costs about $3,000.
"The CarieScan PRO is an interesting innovation, and it's great too that the concept and design comes from a U.K. company," said the British Dental Association's scientific advisor, Professor Damien Walmsley.
"We look forward to seeing the results of future clinical trials to establish its benefits."
The report states that dental decay, particularly among the young, is rising.