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Minimally Invasive Treatments

What Exactly Is Minimally Invasive Dentistry?

Modern dentists are often boasting about their minimally invasive treatment methods but do we actually understand what these are? This article gives an easily digestible guide as to what minimally invasive dentistry is, as well as exploring the reasons for this type of treatment.

Invasive Treatment

By definition, invasive treatment is done by breaching cells and working inside cavities. To do this, sometimes a lot of healthy tissue needs to be removed, this is obviously undesirable.

In dentistry especially this is not ideal since we are looking to fortify teeth. However when we use the dated technique of drilling out decayed tissue for a filling, we unavoidably take some healthy tooth structure with it, regardless of the skill of the dentist.

Minimally Invasive Treatment

This type of treatment is now prevalent throughout the dental world. Ever more advanced techniques are developed all the time that minimise the amount of damage done to healthy tissue and tooth surfaces. View more information.

By the 80s it was true that many dentists had become somewhat disillusioned with the apparent ‘drill and fill’ approach to all decay. They believed that there was little justification for removing healthy tissue. Some even admitted that they didn’t really have the first clue about tooth decay, how it really started or the process as a whole.

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Procedures

If we take minimally invasive to mean preserving original tissue as much as possible then now we can see examples of this notion being applied almost pervasively. In children, the major problem of tooth decay is combated with a preventative approach.

By using fissure sealants, the young teeth are covered with a protective surface that reduces the likelihood of plaque bonding and building up on a tooth.

Professional cleaning methods are used in order to eliminate the build up of plaque too. This means that there is no chance for plaque to harden into tartar and begin to do serious damage. Find out more.

If we look at fillings, there are advancements being made all the time. A notable one currently being tested is that of the papain based protein gel. If this comes through trials successfully then it would be a massive step forward.

This is because the gel form targets only decayed tissues and breaks them down so that they can be easily scraped away. After this, the healthy tooth structure is left and then filled with more often than not a composite. A composite is used in favour of amalgam (silver) fillings nowadays because of the risk that the mercury levels in amalgam fillings carry. As well as studies showing the weakening of tooth structures after around 14 years when they have amalgam fillings.