General dentists often rely on their judgment, education, and experience when treating their patients. Some of these cases end up with excessive amounts of tooth removal, even healthy tooth removal, that would be considered unnecessary by others, often resulting in wasted time, money, and further dental problems down the line. All dentists should approach their patients’ teeth with the best intentions in mind, but when the lines are fuzzy, it can lead to unintended mistakes. That’s where conservative approaches can come in handy.
What is Conservative Dentistry All About?
Conservative dentistry consists of minimally invasive procedures that focus on only removing what’s considered damaged or unnecessary, leaving the remaining healthy tooth structure behind during the restorative process. For general dentists in positions where they don’t know which procedure to take to tackle the problem, conservative dentistry offers solutions that work to preserve the natural tooth structure as much as possible while also treating the dental condition or disease at hand.
It may seem obvious that preserving the natural tooth structure should be inherent to dental practices. Still, more often than not, many dental practices today tend to focus on reliable, repeatable procedures, even if those procedures involve removing healthy tooth structure to perform it correctly. In this light, conservative dentistry presents huge but more effective challenges to general dentists looking to expand their practices. It means that with the introduction of conservative approaches, personalized approaches to dental care can be better achieved on a wider scale, which increases the retention rate of patients and provides longer success rates overall.
Therefore, conservative approaches should be implemented into more general practices. For those who have already accomplished this goal, patients faced with conditions such as tooth decay, cracked teeth, severe gum disease, and other common issues can have a more positive experience with their dentist. This means that through conservative approaches, patients can experience:
- Reduced Dental Costs: Through conservative approaches, general dentists can help reduce the costs of procedures for patients who need treatments not covered by their insurance company. These reduced costs can apply to treatments such as root canals, gum contouring, enamel removal, and other restorative treatments.
- Improved Preservative Measures: By working with conservative methods, preservative measures for tooth care can be improved and taken into better account. For instance, instead of performing tooth extractions for dentures, patients can receive dental bridges with fewer implants to manage their teeth better and schedule further appointments for regular checkups and cleanings.
- Better Aesthetic Function: Conservative approaches also consider aesthetics. While cosmetic and restorative dentists often focus on aesthetics as their highlight, general dentists can now take advantage of their benefits and provide more attention and detail to their care, giving their patients aesthetically-pleasing smiles that suit their facial structures.
- More Natural-Looking Smiles: Overall, minimally invasive procedures tend to provide more natural-looking results than normal procedures. As more natural tooth material is preserved, so do the costs of maintaining those smiles because of the preserved enamel.
What Procedures Look Like With a Conservative Approach?
Many general dentists have begun moving towards conservative approaches in their practice. Some of the treatments that are starting to be improved upon or added to dental routines include:
- Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening procedures are already considered minimally invasive because of how they work to minimize stains and brighten smiles. Because teeth whitening focuses entirely on the enamel layer, it doesn’t involve removing or damaging any tooth structures and thus makes it a perfect method for discoloration treatment.
- Root Canal Treatment: Root canal treatments highly benefit from a conservative approach by reducing the amount of dentin, pulp, and root canals removed or affected to be able to clean the inner tooth properly. Laser dentistry, proper irrigation systems, and cone-beam tomography can help improve the procedure by providing a more accurate diagnosis that helps narrow down the issue at hand.
- Dental Bonding: Dental bonding systems can help replace the need for tooth extractions or extensive enamel removal by providing an alternative method for repairing tooth structures. The bonding material used adheres to the tooth’s enamel and helps reform the tooth’s surface, removing the need for restorations such as crowns and inlays. This procedure can be especially helpful as long as the materials used provide enough security and strength to replace the missing tooth areas.
- Microabrasion: Alongside dental bonding, microabrasion systems work to minimally remove the enamel, creating a porous space for dental bonding and filling materials to help repair the damaged surfaces. Microabrasion is considered a conservative treatment. It can help remove signs of discoloration and the damaged enamel and help prep the tooth surface for restorative treatments such as inlays and veneers.
Through the introduction of conservative approaches, more people can experience natural-looking smiles with ease. If you find yourself displeased with your smile, visit your local general dentist today to learn about your options for conservative treatment.