At Preserve Your Teeth® Dentistry, every possible area is treated conservatively. That is with minimal removal of tooth structure. We also repair teeth with modern tooth-colored adhesive dentistry methods. When caries is in its early stages, we will even use the most conservative method: remineralization.
A tooth can become afflicted with dental decay. This happens despite the best efforts at prevention, or more likely because of lack of preventive effort. Decay that occurs on the chewing surface (occlusal), between the teeth (proximal), or on the smooth surface of the tooth can be treated according to standard methods.
Research and clinical practice have shown that under the appropriate professionally guided conditions, early tooth decay can be reversed. Careful and knowledgeable diagnosis can identify which teeth with tooth decay can be managed by remineralization. It is important to carefully explain these events to the patient.
Along with providing dietary recommendations, oral hygiene, and the use of the appropriate dentifrice of prescription strength fluoride (a mineral containing formulations) can the carious lesion be reversed. When successful, tooth remineralization represents a tremendous achievement for the patient (and the dentist). The tooth structure is regained, rather than lost to decay.
The remineralization technique is not widely practiced in the dental profession in the United States. Dentists are often reluctant. There are several reasons for this, including:
Traditional and classical approaches to dental decay call for carefully excavating the decay. The dentist will then drill and cut a shape into the tooth in order to create a retention and resistance form, for heavy metal fillings. Before modern adhesive composites, and strict adherence to proper methodology, this ‘drilling’ and ‘filling’ of the teeth was the only approach to the management of tooth decay.
We are firmly committed to pointing out this possibility to every patient, whenever it is appropriate. We are also dedicated to providing diagnosis, oral hygiene methods, and in-office use of fluoride preparations to help you to preserve your teeth, rather than to drill and fill.
But what about when the tooth decay is below or above the gum line? That is a problem that takes more planning and treatment. The dentist needs a way to access the tooth decay to determine the extent and severity of caries. Such situations may require a procedure called crown lengthening. Find out more in future blogs.