What Is Minimally Invasive Dentistry? Is It For Me?

image of dental toolsThe phrase “minimally invasive dentistry” may not be known to most people, but a dentist visit that is as least invasive and as pain-free as possible sounds good to all.

Minimally invasive dentistry – which is also called microdentistry – means a dentist promotes preventative care and remineralization so that the dentist needs to do as little work as needed to keep or restore teeth to a healthy state. This means being proactive and trying to prevent as many tooth and gum problems as possible, so that (ideally) no painful, expensive, invasive treatments are needed later. Dentists also practicing minimally invasive dentistry use long-lasting materials to minimize the need for additional repairs or upkeep.

Dentists who practice minimally invasive dentistry use several techniques, such as:

  • Remineralization: When teeth are exposed to acid, they lose minerals, called demineralization. Remineralization can repair this damage through the use of fluoride.
  • Sealants: Used to protect teeth from bacteria and plaque that cause decay, sealants are easily placed on teeth and can prevent future problems.
  • Laser-assisted preparation: A dental laser can more precisely remove tooth decay than a drill, which preserves more tooth structure.
  • Inlays and onlays: These preserve more tooth structure than the traditional crown.
  • Bite splints: For people who grind their teeth, this device can protect teeth from damage.
  • Air abrasion: Using air and very fine abrasive powder, this technique can often remove tooth decay without anesthesia, as it is less invasive and painful.

These techniques are used to preserve as much of the tooth structure as possible. They are also minimally invasive when compared with traditional drilling or other tooth decay repair techniques such as crowns.

Minimally invasive dentistry, at its root, has as its goals the prevention of serious dental problems, and the protection of as much natural tooth structure as possible. These goals hopefully mean less drilling, less pain, and more happiness at a dental visit.

To learn more about minimally invasive dentistry, talk with your dentist.