As the field of dentistry advances and the use of technology in the field increases, the concept of minimally invasive dentistry has emerged. Preservation of a healthy set of natural teeth for each patient should be the objective of every dentist. Minimally invasive dentistry is characterized by the following:
- Regard natural tooth structure as valuable
- Preserve, rather than replace, original natural tissue
- Focus on prevention
- Minimize invasive procedures during treatment
- Prevention begins with good oral hygiene
- Dental caries are considered an infectious disease
- Early detection of caries and other diseases can prevent the spread of infection
- Focus on remineralization of enamel as a preventive effort in treating decay
The goal of our entire team at Thomas Family Dentistry is to provide minimally invasive dental treatment that will preserve as much original tissue as possible. This method of providing dentistry is the most conservative approach that leaves the tooth stronger in structure than procedures that modify the tooth through more invasive measures.
When a restoration, like a filling, must be made to a tooth, a greater amount of healthy tooth tissue than actual decayed tissue is often removed. An estimated 50 to 71 percent of the work that a dentist completes involves the repair or replacement of previous restorations. The use of durable restorative materials can also decrease the need for later repair or restoration work.
The days of being required to "cut a bigger hole to fix the hole" has been greatly reduced by implementing new techniques and technologies. Tooth tissue can be preserved at a greater percentage through the use of innovative adhesive materials. Glass ionomer cements release minerals into the surrounding tooth tissue and help prevent future cavities. Resin-based composite and dentin bonding agents are designed to bond to the enamel and preserve it.
New technology and the invention of small, hand-held tools also allow for a less-invasive form of restorations. Using these new instruments allow the treatment of decay in its more superficial form, which not only preserves tooth structure, but can usually be done without the need for anesthetic.