Minimally Invasive Dentistry – What Is There to Know About It?
Minimally invasive dentistry has been quite popular especially in the last few years. Dentists all around the world have encouraged their patients and shared their positive opinions about this interesting technique. The minimally invasive dentistry is recommended for everyone, but especially for those of you who believe that it is better to prevent than to treat illnesses and diseases. For today’s article, we have chosen to talk about the importance of minimally invasive dentistry and what does it really mean for the patient. Hopefully, this article will encourage you to take the steps towards this amazing procedure in the future.
What is minimally invasive dentistry?
Minimally invasive dentistry, also known as microdentistry, is a term that includes numerous procedures all of which are performed with the single aim to conserve[i] and improve[ii] the patient’s oral health, providing healthy tooth structure. The term itself – minimally invasive dentistry explains how that dentists who use this approach focus on removing as little as possible when it comes to the tooth structure while at the same time getting rid of the problem and improving the patient’s oral health in general.
With the minimally invasive dentistry[iii], dentists provide a chance to reduce the need for future dental repairs all of that achieved by using long-lasting materials and the least amount of dentistry which is also highly efficient at the same time. In order to do so, your dentists will perform series of tests in order to determine important highlights such as the number of healthy bacteria in your saliva and the presence or absence of tooth decay and caries.
Minimally invasive dentistry not only does prevent the common dental issues, it also analysis and evaluates [iv]the possible risk and catches the problem in its early stage. One example of minimally invasive dentistry is your dentist advising you to use mouthwash on a daily basis if he/she has discovered a presence of high level of oral bacteria. There are a few techniques [v]that are a part of the minimally invasive dentistry.
Air abrasion is defined as a drill-less technique used to remove tooth decay, but it can perform other procedures too. The technique uses a stream of aluminum oxide particles generated from compressed air, nitrogen gas or bottled carbon dioxide. These abrasive particles use a high velocity to act on a tooth to remove small concentration of its structure. Hardness of the material or tissue being removed influences efficacy of air abrasion. Parameters of the device used to perform air abrasion also contribute to effectiveness of the procedure. This minimally invasive technique can be used for the removal of pit and fissure surface stain on enamel before placing veneers, but it can also detect caries, and remove other defects[vi].
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Remineralization is a process of restoring minerals, the damage that has been done due to demineralization. Demineralization is a chemical process wherein minerals, mainly calcium and phosphate, are removed from enamel, dentine, and other tissues in your mouth. Studies show that demineralization of teeth is caused by acidic attack through dietary acids consumed through food and beverages and microbial attack from bacteria present in the mouth[vii].
When not addressed properly, demineralization can lead to caries and other problems. The gold standard in a process of remineralization is fluoride, which is why dentists recommend it to their patients, but other methods are also useful such as the use of toothpaste containing casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP), gums, mouthwash and other products containing xylitol. Bioactive gas, Novamin, also poses as a useful, minimally invasive solution for remineralization.
We can identify dental sealants as plastic coatings used to protect the teeth from the harmful bacteria that lead to the process of tooth decay. Sealants are a safe, effective, and fast way to protect your teeth from damage, caries, and other problems. The plastic coating is applied onto the biting surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premorals). Once applied to its place, the sealant forms a hard shield that prevents bacteria and food in small grooves in your teeth. The reason why sealants are put on molars and premolars specifically is because these teeth have small pits where food can get stuck. The process is fast; it takes only a few minutes to position a sealant on each tooth. What’s more, the entire procedure is pain-free.
Bite splints are created to prevent damage from teeth grinding, especially at night. Bite splint is a hard plastic wafer specifically designed to fit over upper teeth. It features metal clasps that attach to a person’s teeth to make sure splint stays in one place. The primary purpose of bite splint is to stop you from grinding the teeth or bruxism which is something that most people do while they sleep. This habit wears down tooth enamel and makes it prone to damage. At first, wearing bite splint may be unusual or awkward, but you’ll get used to it fast. Proper care is mandatory so always make sure you keep the bite splint in a container with a little cold water to prevent it from drying out.
Inlays and onlays
Inlays and onlays are used to restore the form of the teeth after a certain procedure has been performed e.g. removal of caries. These restorations are generally used to repair back teeth with mild to moderate decay. They also prove to be useful when addressing cracked or fractured teeth that aren’t damaged to a degree that requires a crown. Patients with too much tooth damage and decay that can’t be fixed with a filling are ideal candidates for inlays and onlays. A major benefit of these restorations is their durability as well as the ability to strengthen teeth.
Minimally invasive dentistry focuses on not only treating the common dental issues but mainly focuses on preventing and reducing the risks of these issues. By using high quality, long lasting materials, sharing basic tips on how to take care of your oral health, reminding you to check in with your dentist regularly and discover the problem while it is still in its early stages, the minimally invasive dentistry is a great approach which is praised by the dentists and accepted highly positive by the patients.
[i] Christensen GJ, (2005), The advantages of minimally invasive dentistry, Journal of the American Dental Association 136(11):1563-5
[ii] Ericson D, (2007), The concept of minimally invasive dentistry, Dental Update 34(1):9-10, 12-4, 17-8
[iii] Ericson D, (2004), What is minimally invasive dentistry?, Oral health & Preventive dentistry 2 Suppl 1:287-92
[iv] Ericson D, Kidd E, McComb D, Mjor I, Noack MJ, (2003), Minimally invasive dentistry – concepts and tehniques in cariology, Oral health & Preventive dentistry 1(1):59-72
[v] Brostek AM, Bochenek AJ, Walsh LJ, (2006), Minimally invasive dentistry: an update and review, Shanghai Journal of Stomatology 15(3):225-49
[vi] Hegde VS, Khatavkar RA. A new dimension to conservative dentistry: Air abrasion. Journal of Conservative Dentistry : JCD. 2010;13(1):4-8. doi:10.4103/0972-0707.62632. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883800/
[vii] Abou Neel EA, Aljabo A, Strange A, et al. Demineralization–remineralization dynamics in teeth and bone. International Journal of Nanomedicine. 2016;11:4743-4763. doi:10.2147/IJN.S107624. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034904/