Minimally Invasive Dentistry

Minimally Invasive Dentistry is a dental treatment modality grounded in the most recent scientific literature. It can be applied to many aspects of dentistry. The basic fundamentals are:

  • Nothing is better than your natural teeth.
  • Dentistry should strive to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, your natural teeth.
  • Dentistry should not intervene surgically, unless all other minimally invasive options have been exhausted.

Minimally Invasive Dentistry is the foundation of Dr. Griffith’s treatment plans and is practiced through the use of remineralization therapy, sealants, diet analysis, micro-burs, micro-cavity preparations, magnification loupes, etc.

Remineralization Therapy

The bacteria in the mouth cause the carious process, also know as “cavities”. These bacteria use the sugars out of your diet to produce acid. The acid attacks the teeth, breaking down the enamel. When the bacteria are controlled, there is the opportunity to actually repair, in some instances, the damage caused by the bacteria.

The repair process is known as Remineralization Therapy. Remineralization therapy relies on the natural ability of fluoride, calcium, and phosphate to integrate into the tooth enamel and repair the damaged tooth.

Remineralization therapy is effective in small carious lesions. If patient compliance is high, then results are predictable. It is always exciting to avoid “drilling” on a tooth, instead allowing the enamel to be naturally repaired.

Fluoride Therapy

Flouride Trays

At 58 Dental, one of the major focuses is on preventative dentistry. If a patient’s caries risk, or the potential to form “cavities”, is high then custom fluoride trays will be recommended. The acid created by the oral bacteria demineralizes the tooth structure which leads to cavities. Fluoride has the ability to remineralize and actually repair the tooth structure. The goal of fluoride trays is to shift the oral balance from demineralization to remineralization. This is accomplished through various means, but one of the primary mechanisms is to increase a patient’s frequency and duration of exposure to fluoride. Fluoride trays accomplish this goal by increasing the amount of time fluoride is in contact with the teeth. 58 Dental recommends that the fluoride trays be worn through the night when salivary flow is decreased and when bacteria are most effective. The fluoride gel that is placed in the thin, clear, custom trays has 5,500 parts per million of fluoride. This is 5.5 times the fluoride compared to over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste which contains 1,000 parts per million of fluoride. This level of fluoride exposure is effective and safe in adult patients.

In-Office Fluoride Varnish

At 58 Dental, one the the major focuses is on preventative dentistry. If a patient’s caries risk, or the potential to form “cavities”, is moderate to high, then in-office fluoride will be recommended. The acid created by the oral bacteria demineralizes the tooth structure. Fluoride has the ability to remineralize or actually repair the tooth structure. The goal of in-office fluoride varnish is to shift the oral balance from demineralization to remineralization. This is accomplished through various means, but one of the primary mechanisms is to increase a patient’s frequency and duration of exposure to fluoride. The fluoride varnish that is used at 58 Dental is the best material currently available on the market. The varnish contains not only fluoride, but also calcium and phosphate which are the two primary minerals found in the natural tooth enamel. In addition, the concentration of fluoride found in the varnish is 22,600 parts-per-million, compared to regular toothpaste which contains 1,000 parts-per-million.

Overhang Removal

While every attempt is made during the placement of dental restorations, such as amalgam or composite, to recreate the natural tooth anatomy sometimes we have less than acceptable results.  An overhang, or over-contour, is an area of a restoration that forms a ledge or is bulky compared to the natural tooth anatomy.  These areas harbor bacteria and can be a source for bacterial penetration into the tooth or create localized gingivitis.  If the only restoration defect that is present is the overhang then there is usually little reason to remove the entire restoration.  In most instances, the overhang can be recontoured or smoothed to approximate the natural shape of the tooth.  In some instances, there is no direct way to access the overhang and surgical access is necessary.  A small incision is made in the surrounding tissue, the tissue is reflected, and the overhang is removed.  A suture may be placed if indicated.

Enameloplasty

Enameloplasty is minor recontouring of the enamel of a single tooth or multiple teeth.  This procedure is performed when there are interferences between teeth or restorations during function.  Enameloplasty is also utilized when a tooth has supraerrupted and is a conservative option to adjust the tooth back into the occlusal plane.