what is healthy dentistry?
For decades, dentists have been using the same traditional techniques to fix cavities and broken down teeth, and they, unfortunately, are still being used today by the majority of dentists. These procedures often require extensive tooth removal, use of metal materials in the mouth, and place foreign materials underneath the gum line.
None of these enhance the overall health of your mouth, in fact, they can cause irreparable damage.
Figure 1: A traditional crown preparation on a molar tooth. On average 75% of the tooth is removed. The margins are also placed below the gum line and the tissues appear very red and irritated.
Figure 2: A very conservative crown preparation on a molar tooth. Note the amount of healthy tooth structure remaining as opposed to a traditional crown prep.
Healthy Periodontium (Gums And Bone)
The definition of a healthy mouth is the absence of disease. Unfortunately, over 75% of our population have some sort of oral infection and most people are not even aware of it.
The most common, and potentially destructive, is Periodontal Disease. This is a chronic, bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth, which if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. It has also been linked to many health issues such as heart disease, stroke, low birth weights, respiratory problems, and many more. It is a chronic progressive disease that is incurable, just as is diabetes or high cholesterol.
The good news is that it is easily treatable and can be properly maintained given the right tools and education from our office. We do simple non-surgical procedures using special tools and medicaments to get rid of the infection, and provide you with easy-to-follow homecare strategies to ensure stability and long-term success!
This photo shows a patient with gingivitis. The gums are slightly red and bulbous and bleed when cleaning is performed.
Healthy (White) Fillings
Fillings are placed in teeth where there is a small area of decay or a crack in the tooth. Traditionally, large areas of tooth structure are removed along with the affected area so that a silver (amalgam) or white filling could be retained. These preps are more aggressive and often go below the gum line.
With advances made in dental materials, composite, or white fillings do not require this excessive removal of the tooth because these materials bond to the tooth instead of relying on mechanical retention. More healthy tooth structure is maintained and the fillings stay away from the gums to avoid any gingival irritation.