Dental caries or cavities are one of the most prevalent oral diseases worldwide. Today, billions of people have cavities in their permanent teeth left untreated. In the past, restorative dental repair treatments involved a high-speed drill and air-water syringe.
Conventional methods were invasive and often created aerosols with viruses and bacteria. However, the future of cavity treatment looks promising. Minimally invasive options for dental repair are available. These treatments help preserve healthy dental tissues as much as possible.
These non-invasive procedures are limited but effective when dental caries are detected early. Some of the non-invasive options include resin infiltration and remineralization techniques.
Many patients associate cavities treatment with drilling, which they don’t like. Experts have devised a way to minimize the drilling with resin infiltration. The trick is to catch caries before it becomes a big problem, so it can be stopped at the early stages. With this technique, liquid resin fills the lesions to act as a sealant to prevent the spread of decay.
The American Association of Dental Consultations found that remineralization can help with dental caries. It’s a cost-effective dental repair that can stop or reverse the progress of the decay, possibly preserving tooth structure. Remineralization seems like the best method as long as it is non-cavitated caries, meaning they are bacteria-free.
Here are some remineralization techniques your dentists may suggest:
Fluoride makes the teeth’s enamel stronger. It works well, especially when combined with calcium phosphate. Topical fluoride treatments can help boost the healing of your incipient caries.
Applying sealants to the chewing surface of your molar protects the dental grooves from food and bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Doing so allows your teeth to remineralize and the enamel to grow stronger.
Saliva helps keep food and caries-causing bacteria from the teeth. It also contains traces of calcium, fluoride, and phosphorus, essential for the repair of the enamel. So, how do you use it for dental repair? By chewing sugarless gums to keep your saliva flowing.
The calcium and phosphorus in cheese, yogurt, milk, and other dairy products can help remineralize your teeth. It seems like an unlikely technique, but it works well if eaten alone or after a meal.
Amorphous calcium phosphate, or ACP, can stimulate the re-calcification of enamel. It can help the enamel to take up more fluoride when applied to the teeth. It can also enhance fluoride’s benefits. You can use it through ACP-infused gums, cleaning pastes, etc.
For years, silver diamine fluoride has been used internationally to treat tooth decay. A few years ago, the U.S. finally approved its use for tooth sensitivity. It’s an antimicrobial compound you can paint onto the surface of your tooth where lesions usually appear. It can effectively stop any caries from appearing. There is a side effect, though — it can blacken your teeth.
All these non-invasive treatments help prevent, stop, or reverse dental caries. However, having great oral hygiene is still the best thing you can do to prevent tooth decay. Brush twice every day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once. Don’t forget to swish an antimicrobial mouthwash. More importantly, visit your dentist for regular cleaning every six months.
Learn about the different non-invasive options for dental repair at Castro Valley Dentistry. Call (510) 674-0900 or visit us at Castro Valley, California.