Minimally invasive dentistry, which is also known as microdentistry, aims to help patients preserve their healthy tooth structure so that they are less likely to need corrective dental care and repair in the future. Dentists who deliver minimally invasive dentistry perform the absolute least amount of dentistry necessary, never removing or replacing more tooth structure than is absolutely required to restore and maintain ideal tooth health. Long-lasting dental materials are used to ensure that tooth structure is conserved as much as possible and the potential for future repairs is dramatically reduced.
Understanding Minimally Invasive Dentistry
In minimally invasive dentistry, the primary focus in on prevention and remineralization so that teeth can remain as strong and healthy for as long as possible. The dentist first determines a patient’s risk for tooth decay based on the presence of oral bacteria, the quality and quantity of saliva in the mouth and the individual’s diet. Based on the information they gather, the dentist can then develop a strategy to help the patient either prevent or at least greatly reduce one’s risk of tooth decay. As an example, a patient who is suffering from an elevated and unhealthy level of oral bacteria may need to limit the intake of certain carbohydrates, practice good oral hygiene and use mouthwash every day. This can help to reduce their level of oral bacteria, which can help guard against future tooth decay.
Some examples of minimally invasive dentistry performed at Orange Texas Dentistry include:
- Remineralization. Fluoride treatments are extremely helpful in remineralizing teeth so that they remain strong and healthy.
- Air abrasion. Where tooth decay has occurred and must be handled, air abrasion may be used. Air abrasion is likened to microscopic sand blasting, and uses a stream of air and a super-fine abrasive powder instead of the traditional drill.
- Sealants. Dental sealants are normally made of plastic resin, and can form a protective barrier on teeth, filling in all the grooves and depressions to protect them from the bacteria, acid and plaque that can lead to decay.
- Inlays and onlays. While fillings and crowns are normally used to restore teeth, quite a bit of tooth structure has to be removed in order for them to be placed in the mouth. In contrast, inlays and onlays do not require as much tooth structure removal. Inlays are custom-made to fit cavities in teeth, while onlays are used for more substantial tooth reconstruction.
- Bite splints. Grinding one’s teeth can cause serious damage that requires crowns, unless it is detected and corrected early on. Bite splints can be worn at night or during the stressful times when teeth-grinding normally occurs.
- Athletic mouthguards. Mouthguards can be used to protect the teeth, jaw and oral tissues from injuries that can occur during sports activities.
- Composite fillings. These are plastic and glass mixtures that are used to restore decayed teeth, change the color of teeth and reshape disfigured teeth.
For more information about minimally invasive dentistry and what you can do to preserve strong, healthy teeth, please contact us today.