Dental science has not been able to find a cure or prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay (caries) is the most common disease in man, found in millions of people.
Minimally Invasive Dentistry is modern technology that gives more treatment options that minimize the removal of healthy tooth structure while treating tooth decay.
Q: How is Minimally Invasive Dentistry different from traditional dentistry?
A: Minimally invasive (MI) dentistry is a series of scientific techniques to preserve natural tooth structure. The use of digital x-rays with physical oral examination utilizing magnification and illumination allow early detection when prevention fails. Remineralization of early decay is possible. Advanced decay needs minimal conservative restorations, not removing any more tooth than necessary to restore the tooth to form and function (Microdentistry).
Q: What is tooth decay?
A: Dental decay (caries) is a communicable, infectious disease. Everyone has bacteria in their mouth which cause caries. These bacteria form a plaque on teeth (sticky bacterial deposits); sugar from the diet is turned into acid by these bacteria, which causes decalcification of the tooth, destroys the tooth enamel and decay can occur.
Q: What can I do to keep tooth decay from occurring in the future?
A: Prevention is the desired solution. To prevent tooth destruction you must remove this acidic bacterial plaque biofilm.
This is done by daily brushing and flossing. Brush at least twice a day. Floss once a day. The use of Anti-cavity Fluoride toothpaste and treatment gels aid in limiting the acid effect on tooth enamel.
Regular dental examinations and professional cleanings remove plaque and calculus (mineralized plaque), administer Fluoride treatments and allow for caries to be treated early.
The most important time is at six and twelve years old, when the permanent adult molars erupt into the mouths of children.
Dental sealants (plastic protective coverings) can be applied to the biting surfaces of back teeth; these seal the grooves where almost 90% of decay occurs, preventing decay from occurring when in place. When decay is found at the time of placing sealants, that’s when microdental preventative bonded restorations can be placed.
Q: What techniques are parts of MI dentistry?
A: In addition to sealants:
Remineralization can repair enamel damage. Diet needs to be modified; oral home care needs to change. Dental office and home therapeutic agents will include anti-microbial and Fluoride rinses, gels, varnishes (Silver Diamine Fluoride) and pastes (MI Paste, Tri-Calcium Phosphate, and Sodium Fluoride).
Hard tissue lasers or Air Abrasion are utilized to remove decay where a tooth can’t be remineralized. Laser light or microscopic sand blasting is used instead of a dental drill.
Bonded tooth colored restoration are used to replace the tooth structure lost to decay. Repair is done if possible instead of the replacement of failing restorations.
Every dental problem and its treatment have the opportunity to be the least invasive with the use of MI technology.
Dental caries are not completely preventable. Utilize the MI dental technologies for maximum prevention and limit destruction with early treatment with Microdentistry.