The majority of people do not like going to visit their dentist, let alone like getting dental fillings. The two main reasons are:
1) They are usually in pain and are expecting more pain from filling and drilling, and
2) They are worried about how much money it is going to cost them.
Can you imagine how a dentist feels; most people do not like going to see them!
So can microdentistry (also known as Minimally Invasive Dentistry – MID for short) help?
Yes, it can with a proviso – that people make regular visits to the dental office every 6 to 12 months. Many people are not aware that dental decay does not cause pain until the final stages. Just like the advice given for cancer early detection is the best protection so it is for dental decay.
Microdentistry treats decay early (when it is very tiny) before it becomes painful and causes major tooth damage resulting in very tiny dental fillings. This is low-cost cosmetic dentistry! My job as a dentist is to give you an oral assessment (digital x-rays, laser diagnostics and physical oral examination) to determine whether microdentistry or traditional dentistry will be required for your oral health.
Traditional (macro) dentistry means those high pitched whining drills and face numbing anaesthetic. Although many people cannot avoid traditional dentistry, most can benefit from microdentistry procedures that make your dental experience more pleasurable than you may have ever experienced in the past.
Microdentistry is the practise of early detection and early treatment with minimally invasive revolutionary methods.
Please note: Microdentistry cannot be used to remove old amalgam, porcelain or metal fillings. Traditional macro dentistry applies in these cases. And it is important that safe amalgam removal procedures are provided.
Lasers are in dentistry!
You see them everywhere else. In movies like Star Wars, James Bond, and in the surgery – corrective eye surgery and for treating skin disorders to name a couple. The reason they are used is that they are pinpoint accurate and offer the best healing. And now they are in dentistry. To get corrective eye surgery would you go to an eye surgeon who will cut with a scalpel blade or who will treat with a laser?
What is it? Laser stands for light amplification and it enables us to focus light energy to use as a tool for cutting. Because we can focus light to any size we can ensure unparallel accuracy. The Dental Water Laser Water laser offers a gentle alternative to a wide variety of dental treatments. Fillings last longer and tooth structure is preserved, extending the life of your teeth. Most of all it is a generally pain free treatment.
Water laser uses a Hydrokinetic (TM) process to energise water which then gently and precisely washes away decay in both tooth enamel and gum tissue. Fast, efficient, no drilling and sometimes no more numbing injections!
The Biolase (TM) Water Laser is a high power laser used for all aspects of dental surgery. It is a laser that utilises water to perform cutting procedures. What happens is laser energy is passed through a mist of water spray. As the water particles are energised by the laser energy they shoot forward and hit the target tissue. Since the majority of mouth tissue cells are made up of water they make a perfect target. The water particles hit the cells and evaporate the cells water contents and the cells collapse. Sounds very gentle eh? It is! Consider the alternative. Picture in your mind what a scalpel blade or a drill will do to the same cells- pure destruction!
So what can this wonderful tool be used for? “It can be used in every aspect of dentistry,” says Simon Wenley. We can now do fillings without much fuss. There is no vibration or heat caused in the tooth. This is a major advantage over the drill. When a drill hits a tooth it causes fracture lines on entry point through the enamel. Over times these fracture lines propagate (like cracks in your windshield) and cause the tooth or fillings to break – sound familiar? Also the high speed drill causes heat. This coupled with the vibration causes a lot of the pain you feel when going to the dentist.
The laser has none of this! That is why a lot of filling can now be prepared without the need for Local Anaesthetic! All soft tissues (surgical) procedures can be carried out. The greatest advantage is the faster healing time after the procedures. A lot of the time there is no pain or even trace of trauma after surgical procedures. A good example is gum re-contouring. Traditionally a scalpel blade and stiches are used. You have the stiches in for 1 week and have to allow for complete healing in about 3 weeks. The laser requires no stiches and in some cases healing is on the day!
Cold sore and ulcers can now be ‘lased’ closed. This has immediate relief and also gives a faster healing time. The dental water laser treatment can help with gum disease by cleaning the infection under the gums.
Microdentistry does not weaken the structure of the tooth as can often occur with traditional (macro) drilling, because less of the tooth needs to be removed. The dentist wears magnifying glasses to work at the micro levels.
What about gum disease and microdentistry?
Four out of five adults have gum disease. Not only does this initially result in bleeding gums and bad breath but eventually will result in bone deterioration and loss of teeth. Now with water laser treatment we can at last treat gum disease effectively and with regular treatment, bone regeneration can sometimes result. Microdentristry is great for children.
The Kavo Diagnodent (TM) is a hand held low power laser.
It is used to pick up hidden decay. This hides deep in the enclosed fissures in your tooth. The Diagnodent shines in the tooth and illuminates it. It gets a reflection of the light and gives the dentist a reading between 1 and 100. The dentist can then advise you on how bad the decay is in your tooth and what to do about it. It reads a number of things in your tooth. Two important parameters it reads are amount of tooth destruction, and amount the activity of the bacteria, which causes the decay. It is extremely accurate. Trials have shown it to be 99% accurate. In the same trials the traditional way of picking up decay on your tooth by picking at your teeth with the probe (that instrument the dentists love to use to poke and prod your tooth!) is about 25% accurate. So you might as well toss a coin because this will give you a 50% chance of getting it right!
Laser diagnostic equipment enables us to find cavities and even potential cavities that traditional manual dental probes and X-rays would often miss. This means early treatment and repair before the pain sets in and before major repair work would be required.
Regular dental visits involving our diagnostic laser equipment will ensure healthier teeth and in many cases – pain free fillings! You will save time, money AND pain! Everyone benefits from early detection oral assessments. This technology has enabled me to change to a mercury amalgam-free office. The best investment you can make in your children and young people’s oral health is to ensure microdentistry is part of their regular checkups.
Many people benefit from microdentistry. Plus if you combine microdentistry with decay prevention procedures you can be confident about your oral health. You no longer have to fear going to the dentist.