Published On: Fri, Jan 22nd, 2016

Too Good to Be True: How No Drill Dentistry is Revolutionizing the Field

If you ask most people what they hate the most about visiting their dentist and the almost unanimous response would be the prospect of facing the drill.

Visiting somewhere like RockCenter Orthodontics and being offered the option of no drill dentistry is going to bring a smile to plenty of previously nervous faces, so it is worth finding out more about this innovative approach to preventing and treating cavities.

A change to the fill and drill approach

The general accepted approach that is adopted by most dental practices is mainly based on the assumption that once tooth decay takes hold, a progressive demise of the tooth is almost inevitable.

Based on this philosophy, it would make perfect sense to drill and fill a tooth that is showing early signs of decay, as a preventative measure.

What has prompted a rethink regarding this strategy is the discovery from some recent studies that decay actually develops more slowly than previously believed and the decay could take anything up to eight years to progress from the outer level of the tooth’s enamel to the more vulnerable inner layer.

This means that the dentist has more time than was previously estimated to detect the decay and treat it before it has the opportunity to become a cavity and need filling.

It should be noted that if the decay has already developed into a cavity then there is absolutely no way to avoid using a filling to remedy the problem, but a more proactive approach based on this new information about the timespan of decay, will help to ensure some patients get to avoid going under the drill.

photo dozenist

photo dozenist

Concentrating on prevention

No one wants a filling if they can avoid it and for many patients the idea of taking a more proactive approach to prevention of decay in the first place is far more preferable than having to endure the sound and feel of that high-pitched drill in your mouth.

Working on the basis that prevention is clearly better than the cure it is best to take the view that a tooth should only need to be drilled and filled once an actual cavity has been discovered and therefore needs treating with a filling.

The suggested approach that is being adopted by a number of dentists is to establish a series of protocols that are specifically aimed at early detection and assessment of the current level of tooth decay risk.

This means using dental X-ray interpretation and utilizing pre-cavity decay treatments in order to enhance the cavity detection process and avoid any need for drilling and filling.

Taking this preventative dentistry approach means that patients will have to play their part by ensuring that their brushing skills are the best they can be and by making a concerted effort to reduce their intake of sugary drinks and snacks.

It is also possible that your dentist might consider applying a concentrated fluoride varnish to a site which is displaying early signs of decay.

The results of recent studies that suggest we might have more time to deal with decay and follow some preventative measures can only be good news for those of us that struggle with the prospect of facing the dentist’s drill.

Samantha Finch is studying to become a dentist and is just 1 year away from graduating. She enjoys keeping up with industry news and looks forward to working with the latest technology and new methods of dentistry. She writes about all aspects of dentistry for a range of health blogs.

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