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Minimally Invasive Dentistry: A Short Guide

What is minimally invasive dentistry and why is it becoming more prevalent?

Minimally invasive dentistry is around the preservation of the original tissue or 'a systemic respect for the original tissue'. It isn't that well known that certain dental procedures are not long term solutions and are often doomed to fail. An example is root canal treatment, since it is nearly impossible to completely remove the pulp can clean the canal, which becomes increasingly narrower with age. Root canal treatment will often lead to complications down the road- 60% of treatments are due to roots not being completely filled in. Another example is caused by extractions. Extracting a tooth leaves behind a gaping wound in bone tissue. Bone tissue heals a differently to normal tissue and requires a lot of support from the body. Extractions can lead to NICOs and cause horrible symptoms. Other than removing as little tissue as possible, big focus of minimally invasive dentistry also involves prevention (preventative dentistry) of disease, education and encouragement of patient responsibility for their oral health

What does it involve?

There are several examples of minimally invasive dentistry. A big emphasis is on early diagnosis, which highlights the need for patient education, especially since the standard time between dental appointments is 6 months. The earlier one can identify the problem, the less invasive the treatment will be and the more likely the treatment is going to be more successful. Not only this, with certain diseases like tooth decay, early detection allows the process to be reversed. And this is the the premise of minimally invasive dentistry- where patient and dentist strive to reduce the body's need for any outside treatment.

As discussed previously, the other aspect of minimally invasive dentistry is about maximises the efficacy of a treatment while minimising the intrusiveness (or invasiveness) of the treatment. For example, multiple factors come into play with regards to the extraction of tooth decay. These include pup vitality, extent of viable tooth structure and the risk assessment to the patient. There are lots of scientific papers on this and the efficacy of minimally invasive dentistry if you want to find out more.

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