What is it?
This is about a new way of thinking about the treatment for tooth decay. We can treat early decay with “medicine” rather than physically removing the decay. This partly relies on the use of the laser cavity scanner.
Why is it done?
Preserves tooth structure so less work is done on the tooth in its lifetime. Once a tooth is drilled and filled it will always need treatment, we are trying to avoid this cycle.
Tooth decay is known to be an infection, caused by very specific acid producing bacteria. This acid does tremendous harm to teeth; it sucks the calcium crystals out of a tooth, a process known as demineralisation. Traditional ways of dealing with it is surgically, i.e. where the decayed part of the tooth is removed with a drill, and then the tooth is filled.
Minimally Invasive Dentistry is all about using modern techniques to first of all diagnose the infection in its earliest stages, and then to employ modern techniques that avoids or minimise the use of the drill. The other difference with traditional methods is that as well as treating the tooth minimally we can also alter the oral environment such that self healing of the tooth is more likely.
- Find infection early -with early diagnostic methods such as using magnification, digital imaging and the use of the laser cavity scanner.
- Reduce levels of acid producing bacteria -use of specific mouthwashes, one of which can reduce bacteria levels for over 3 months after just a single dose! We will advise accordingly.
- Preventive advice -limit amount and frequency of sugar intake. We will investigate and modify your diet appropriately and undertake a decay risk assessment. You may be shocked to know that some fizzy drinks are almost as acidic as battery acid! Also, if you have 3 or more fizzy drinks per day you increase your risk of getting a cavity by nearly 200%. Are you undergoing orthodontic treatment? You are 60% more likely to have tooth decay.
- Remineralise early decay -if a tooth is decaying it is undergoing the demineralisation process. If caught early we can now use modern techniques to reverse this process. A process known as remineralisation. This is done with the use of a special cream (CP-ACP) applied to the tooth. Part of the treatment also involves the use of prescription strength toothpastes. These toothpastes contain 5 times the amount of fluoride than normal toothpastes and are only available at the dentist. Early decay can also be treated by application of a fluoride varnish.
- Minimal tooth removal -the most modern filling materials require far less tooth removal than before. This is because they form a bond with tooth. Not only will the filling last longer, a lot of times the tooth will be strengthened and far less likely to fracture in the future.
Benefits Of Minimally Invasive Dentistry
What we are trying to do is to stop the tooth from being filled in the first place. We will then stop a lifetimes worth of treatment on the tooth. Once a tooth is filled it will always need treatment.
Good habits with regards to oral hygiene and a sensible balanced diet need be encouraged when children are of a young age.