The dental profession defines minimally invasive dentistry as an approach to oral health care that focuses on preserving existing tissue. Traditional dentistry, on the other hand, often involves invasive procedures and the loss of teeth. Thanks to recent scientific advances, however, traditional dentistry is falling out of favor among many patients, and it’s easy to see why — minimally invasive dentistry operates on the main principle of doing as little to the tooth as possible while optimizing oral health.
So What Does This Mean for the Patient?
For the average patient, minimally invasive dentistry means less time spent in the dentist office as well as a decreased amount of pain and discomfort. It also increases the chances that they’ll retain their natural teeth for the rest of their lives. Many patients also find that in the long run, minimally invasive dentistry is less expensive than its traditional counterpart because it focuses on the big picture, which includes keeping teeth and gums healthy in the first place.
What Minimally Invasive Dentistry Entails
During your first visit to our office, your dentist will take a complete dental and medical history as well as ask questions about your current lifestyle, such as diet and everyday oral hygiene routine. You’ll be evaluated for the risk of developing tooth decay based on a thorough dental exam that includes an analysis of your oral bacteria levels — if these are found to be high, your dentist will probably recommend adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your regular oral health care routine. Basically, your introductory visit should be to determine a customized plan designed to help you achieve the best possible dental health.
What Techniques Does Minimally Invasive Dentistry Include?
One of the most common techniques used in minimally invasive dentistry is called remineralization. Tooth enamel is one of the most mineralized substances in the human body, and when this erodes, tooth decay begins to affect the inner tissues of the teeth. Remineralization is a natural process that can be optimized by good oral health practices such as brushing for at least two minutes twice per day as well as regular flossing. Your dentist may also recommend certain types of food that promote the mineralization process, such as apples, eggs, cheese, fish, and leafy green vegetables.
Other aspects of minimally invasive dentistry include using air-abrasion techniques to remove bacteria and plaque, sealants designed to act as a barrier between sensitive tooth tissue and surface bacteria, and custom-made inlays and onlays in the place of crowns. Both of these options require the removal of far less tooth tissue than crowns.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about minimally invasive dentistry.