The goal of minimally invasive dentistry is to provide treatment that causes no pain, no anxiety, and no added cost to parents. Taking a minimally invasive approach means that we look for ways to minimize what we need to do restoratively to a child's teeth.
Ways that we can do that include:
- Early detection and diagnosis of cavities
- Magnification (surgical loupes/microscopes allow 3-4.5X increased size during inspection)
- Risk assessment
- Remineralization of the teeth
- Performing procedures in a way that reduces the amount of tooth structure lost
Here's a breakdown of our process to restore our patients' teeth using minimally invasive techniques.
The goal of minimally invasive dentistry is to conserve healthy tooth structure by detecting, diagnosing, intercepting, and treating dental caries at the microscopic level. This intervention strategy employs individualized risk assessment and the early detection of cavities. Treatment includes efforts to remineralize teeth and conservative operative procedures that maintain tooth structure. Prevention is a key component of minimally invasive dentistry. A focus on less invasive procedures also often means no pain, less anxiety and lower costs.
The main reason we want to see your child every six months for dental cleanings and examinations is to do what we can to prevent dental diseases. Even if we can't prevent dental decay, we can at least catch it early.
Early detection allows us to remove decay in the earliest stages, when it hasn't progressed into the dentin of the tooth (the porous layer in between the nerve and enamel). Once decay has reached the dentin, it's just one step away from causing nerve damage. Additionally, since the dentin is very porous, decay can progress more quickly through this layer. Catching decay while it is still in the enamel allows us to easily fill the tooth in a way that's painless (many times we don't even need to use anesthesia) and quick.
Another reason why we want to see our patients regularly is to assess their risk for developing dental issues. Seeing a child often allows us to keep tabs not just on whether they have a cavity or not, but also to evaluate the progress of their adult teeth. Recognizing issues like a baby tooth not coming out when it's supposed to allows us to take action that is less invasive, such as early orthodontic care or wisdom teeth extractions.
Also, when we see our young patients for dental cleanings, we can evaluate the health of their gum tissue. Due to genetics, some children are more prone to gum disease than others. With regular teeth cleaning appointments, we can keep gum disease at bay and take action early if we see signs of it developing.
The third step to minimally invasive dentistry is remineralization. Do you ever see white spots on your child's teeth? Oftentimes, this is a sign that the enamel is starting to demineralize, making that area of the tooth weaker and more susceptible to decay.
Demineralization can happen at any point in a child's life, though you might notice it more when a child has had traditional braces. After removing the metal brackets, some children have some demineralized white spots around where the brackets used to be.
Thankfully, at this point, the tooth has not started to decay. We can take action to restore the strength of the tooth and prevent a cavity. We can remineralize the tooth with a variety of products, including fluoride treatments after each cleaning which can be placed directly on demineralized areas.
Dental lasers allow us to restore teeth that have decay in a minimally invasive way. Lasers are very accurate. Therefore, this allows us to remove only the diseased tissue, leaving the surrounding healthy enamel or dentin in place. This means your child experiences less discomfort during the procedure.
In addition to treating cavities, dental lasers allow us to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures on the soft tissues of the mouth. With the precision of a dental laser, we only remove the absolute necessary amount of tissue. The is minimal bleeding, post-operative swelling and pain, as well as faster healing.
Choosing a pediatric dentist should be done carefully. You should look at the reputation the dentist has in the community and even in online forums.
Also consider how committed they are to the progress of dental technology. Some dentists aren't quick to jump on board with the unknown. However, at Children's Dental Specialties, the latest products, tools, and techniques help make dental visits so much easier for your child.