We’re sure that many of our readers are familiar with the buzzing sound of a dentist’s drill. The sight and sound of a drill are enough to make many patients feel uneasy. In some instances, it can even prevent some patients from seeking treatment because of their dental anxiety. Although having our teeth drilled into isn’t always a great experience, most of us understand that it is a necessary procedure to protect our teeth from further decay. Not getting treatment for tooth decay can lead to even more serious problems like tooth loss. In a case with tooth loss, we recommend looking into different restoration options like dental implants. Dental implants give patients a natural-looking smile that can last for years to come with the proper maintenance. While technology allows us to enjoy a realistic restoration, we also believe it’s important to take care of your natural teeth so you can avoid these oral health problems to begin with. New studies suggest that the “drill and fill” technique may be less effective than using preventative techniques. To explain more on this subject, Dr. Gary Altschuler gives his readers here in Gainesville, FL a look at the recent study on the perks of no-drill dentistry.
The Old “Fill and Drill” Technique
Before we get into new studies about no-drill dentistry, we want to take a look at the traditional ways to treat tooth decay. For decades now, it’s believed that the only way to handle tooth decay is by drilling the tooth and placing a filling. Tooth decay occurs when plaque accumulates and begins eating away at the layers of the tooth. Not treating the tooth decay will allow for plaque to continue to reach the pulp of the tooth, where the blood vessels and nerves are located. As a result, individuals will often develop tooth sensitivity and gum disease. In some instances, patients will need a root canal or even a tooth extraction due to the severity of tooth decay.
Many dentists will act at the very first sign of tooth decay because tooth decay is believed to be a rapid progressive process. However, recent studies from an Australian research team have found that preventative care can be more effective than the “drill and fill” technique.
The study looked at preventative techniques for seven years and noticed that this approach can reduce the necessity of dental filling by up to 50%. The head researcher believed that this approach is so successful because many dental decay cases do not actually need fillings. In most cases, we see dentists remove decay at the early stages to prevent the further development of a cavity. The study found that dental decay cases develop much slower than what many assume; Some cases taking even up to eight years before the decay reaches past the enamel to the dentin. Using preventative measure during this period of time can often be just as effective as using a filling. Using the drill and fill technique should be used where a hole-in-the-tooth cavity is already present while preventative techniques should be used before that point.
So, what techniques are involved with the no-drill method? This includes:
- The application of fluoride varnishes to areas of early decay
- Strict oral hygiene routine
- Restricted sugar consumption and between-meal snacks
- Monitoring high-risk areas for cavity formation
During the study, researchers tested patients with a high risk for tooth decay and found that tooth decay can be stopped and reversed with the help of these four methods. Using these preventative methods is a great way to avoid drilling and filling your teeth. Of course, it’s important to remember that a filling is absolutely necessary if the cavity has already formed.
Contact our Office in Gainesville, FL
As you can see, there are many instances where filings may not be the best option for a patient dealing with early signs of decay. In other cases, it can be completely necessary and it all depends on the severity of the decay. This same concept should be applied to other areas of dentistry as well. For example, there are specific oral health problems that you can treat on your own and others that will need the help of a dental professional. In the case of tooth loss, you’ll need an experienced, knowledgeable dental professional to help restore your smile. Here at Altschuler Periodontic and Implant Center, Dr. Atlschuler provides the best restorative services for his patients in Gainesville, FL. To start your journey to a healthy, complete smile, contact our office today and schedule your one-on-one consultation!