DO YOU WANT TO SAVE MORE OF YOUR TOOTH DURING YOUR DENTAL TREATMENT? WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOUR DENTIST?
Long gone are the days when the first option to treat your teeth is to pull it out. Even with the manner how your dentist should fill your tooth is now different. Your dentist first priority beside relieving you of the pain is to save your tooth or as much of its structure. What you need to understand is that no matter how great your dentist is and no matter how advance the technology has become, your natural tooth will surpass any quality what man can made for you. What your dentist, dental technique and technology can only offer you is to imitate what is natural and while doing so limit further destruction of what was left on your tooth structure. Thus, spending time, effort and money on minimally invasive dental treatments will be well worth it. So, what are your options?
I. COMPOSITE RESIN RESTORATION
➢ This is the tooth-colored filling material that has been available for quite some time. What it does besides provide you the aesthetics you may prefer because it can match the color of your tooth, it also allows the dentist not to unnecessarily remove a lot of your tooth structure from the infected tooth. However, it is important to take note that when you do have this treatment be observant on how your dentist does it. One critical factor is the proper isolation of your tooth during the procedure from your saliva, blood and other sulcular fluids found in your mouth. If your saliva is not being properly suck out of your mouth or not enough materials are used to isolate your tooth during the procedure like for example the use of cotton or rubber dam (a rubbery and elastic material placed to isolate the affected tooth from the rest of the structures inside your mouth), then, chances are in a few months or years, you will have a worst situation than you started with considering, of course, you practice good oral hygiene and proper nutrition.
II. VENEERS, ONLAY & INLAY RESTORATIONS
➢ When your affected tooth have a larger decay that can’t be simply repaired by simple filling restorations, these type of restorations can be a good option for you. Veneers are like a mask placed in the front surface of any of your front teeth while inlays and onlays are for your back teeth. These are definitely less invasive than having a crown or caps or bridge. There are two ways in which your dentist can provide you these type of final restorations. One, this can be done in the dental laboratory. Your dentist can prepare your tooth, take an impression and send the replica of your tooth through a cast to the dental laboratory to fabricate the final veneer, only or inlay. Two, this can be done by the dentist directly on your tooth using composite resin or use a pre-fabricated material and cement it on your tooth. The first option is generally more invasive than the second, its only advantage is that it can be tailored made to look exactly like the rest of your remaining teeth. If your concern is more on the aesthetics, then, the first one will probably be better for you but if your concern is to save more of your tooth structure, then, definitely, the latter wins for less invasive treatment.
III. ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
➢ Most people have a misconception about root canal or RCT treatment in terms of being a painful procedure. If done right especially in the application of local aesthetics, this should be actually painless. Thus, I truly advice that you go and have this treatment done with an Endodontist, a specialist on this field rather than with the general practitioner. True, this may become more expensive for you if you will have it done with an Endodontist but the chances are that your tooth will really actually be saved with minimal chances of complication becomes nil. An RCT, although, can be done by any general practitioner may have to deal with your case in a more complicated situation as it appears to be before your dentist started with the procedure, thus, a specialist doing it is much more advisable for this type of procedure. Your tooth can undergo RCT to save it from being extracted or pulled out and this is a much less invasive procedure rather than totally losing your tooth. For the dentist prospect, if they are more into financial gain, extracting your tooth will actually be much easier and more lucrative for them because after your tooth is extracted, the next step is the fabrication of dentures which is definitely will end up become more costly for you both on your tooth and wallet unless you can live with a cheap kind of denture or bridge.
IV. TOOTH WHITENING
➢ This treatment is probably the most less invasive dental treatment as there is no tooth structure removed. This is very ideal especially if your concern is tooth discolouration. Although, it maybe expensive but if you go to the right doctor, it really shouldn’t be. Just for clarification sake, it will not be cheap but it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg unless your case is quite difficult to whiten to begin with. It is also important to take note that using laser or light won’t make your tooth whitening treatment to produce better result albeit it will actually cost you more tooth sensitivity than you should experience. Thus, know your best options on the best type of material to be used on you and its concentration. The higher the concentration of the whitening material, the faster will be the result but the higher the chances you will have tooth sensitivity. Depending on the ability of your dentist to really create you a good treatment plan on this and his/her honesty to provide you the right concentration and duration of application, tooth whitening is the best minimally invasive treatment available for you to consider.
➢ This type of treatment can be considered as minimally invasive depending on the purpose as to why it is considered as a treatment option for your case. If your tooth can’t be saved through RCT and extraction is needed and you don’t want a bridge or removable denture, then, this treatment is a good option to become less invasive in destroying the adjacent teeth especially if they are sound and healthy just to provide you your final restoration through bridge work. However, do take note that there’s a danger when implants are recommended to you by your dentist as unfortunately not all dentists are ethical. You have to get a second opinion when this procedure is suggested to you. Don’t mention anything to the second dentist, just let him/her provide you his/her opinion for your treatment options. If the opinions are the same, then, it is time to choose a good or even the best Implantologist. This is a surgical procedure thus the probable complications may arise if not done properly. This treatment also doesn’t come by cheap, so, choose wisely. You only consider this if you feel this is the best option for you and done by the best dentist for you.
It is time that you take part in deciding the best treatment for you. Listen to what your dentist has to say but decide wisely if this is exactly what you want. The great thing about minimally invasive dental treatments is that when your dentist commits an unintentional human error or if your treatment simply just fail due to circumstances or even your fault, the chances of prognosis in the re-treatment will be much better. And, the flexibility on how to go about it of still saving your tooth will be much greater.
Dr. M. Jean Villanueva-Galindez - Writer | Editor