The Dentist’s Role in Tooth Preservation

Minimally Invasive Dentistry – London Dentist Dr Anthony Zybutz

Whilst some dental procedures such as an extraction, inevitably involve the removal of the whole tooth; others do not. Whilst there may have once been a school of thought amongst dentists, that removing as much of the tooth as possible would reduce the chances of recurrence of an infection, this is no longer the case, with many dental practices now practising minimally invasive dentistry.

What is minimally invasive dentistry?

Also sometimes known as micro dentistry, the aim is to preserve as much of the structure of the original tooth as possible. Whilst it is inevitable that decaying tooth material will need to be removed; the dentist will aim to remove as little healthy tooth as possible. Another important factor is the use of long lasting materials such as those used in fillings, in order to minimise the amount of future work which may be needed.

The saving of your natural teeth however, starts much earlier than the procedure itself. If, during a consultation,  our London dentist discovers that you have a large amount of bacteria on your teeth or gums, which is likely to lead to infection or decay, he may recommend the use of a mouthwash or perhaps, suggest a change in diet to prevent future teeth problems.

One technique often used to preserve natural teeth structure when decay is present, is to use air abrasion to remove it, rather than the standard drill. Using very fine particles in a jet of air to wear away the decay, this leaves the healthy tooth structure intact.

Where a crack or small chip is detected in a tooth; rather than drill this out and fill it; provided that there is no decay present, a sealant of bonding material may be used to close the crack, both to preserve the integrity of the tooth as well as preventing bacteria from entering and causing decay.

Rather than using crowns, which can often involve the removal of a large proportion of a healthy tooth, many dentists are now using inlays or onlays which are custom made to fit a tooth cavity. These are similar to a filling but are generally used for more substantial tooth reconstruction.

A significant amount of people also suffer from bruxism, or the grinding of teeth, especially during the night. This inevitably causes significant damage to teeth over time. To prevent this, our cometic dentist may recommend a bite guard to be worn at night, to prevent the teeth from grinding against each other.

The use of minimally invasive dentistry may also, hopefully, ease the minds of those who have a fear of the dentist. By using air abrasion, for example, the necessity for the use of an anaesthetic is significantly reduced, although it will, naturally, depend on the individual tooth. For many people, a fear of the needle is a significant factor in their reluctance to keep up their dental appointments. If however, the use of minimally invasive dentistry does not ease your fears, your dental practice may also offer conscious sedation, allowing you to remain awake during procedures whilst being fully relaxed.

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