Stopping Cavities Before They Form
The toughest thing about being a dentist is seeing patients come in with damage that could have been prevented with proper oral hygiene or an earlier dental visit. When cavities first begin to form, before they can even be seen with the naked eye, this is the best time to treat them. If cavities are caught earlier enough, they are often reversible with restorative treatments. This means that you may not always need a filling.
A study conducted at the University of Sydney involved performing 19 randomized and controlled trials over the course of three years. There was a follow-up performed on these same patients four years later. After the full seven years, those patients that had the restorative procedure done had 30% fewer cavities overall than those who did not get the procedure.
According to Mary Hayes from the American Dental Association, the traditional approach has been decay removal and a filling, sometimes including surgery. This method of remineralization is a much more therapeutic approach. Early stages of decay can be seen with a Soprolife machine, available at the office of Dr. J.J. Edderai.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria which thrive on the sugars in your mouth. In turn, these bacteria produce acids (yes, the corrosive kind). If the acids are not removed, they create microscopic pores when they remove tooth minerals. From this point to the full development of a cavity may take years. Once it reaches a full cavity, the restoration process can’t work and the bacteria can spread to your gums. But, anytime before this, the treatment can be applied. To restore minerals, the researchers gave the test group fluoride varnish treatments 2-4 times annually. In addition, they were encouraged to limit sugar and to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Currently, when a person gets a filling, they have a greater chance of developing more decay within only a couple years. In fact, in 60% of patients will have this happen. If we can stop decay before it becomes an even bigger problem, than we are encouraging whole mouth health.
There is a large debate over whether fluoride would be the best liquid to use, as in high enough doses, it is toxic. The levels needed for the toxicity to be an issue are not reached from dental treatments or from our drinking water. But, it makes some people uneasy.
For this reason, among others, fluoride is not the only treatment being explored. Some researchers are working with Xylitol (a common sugar alternative), antibacterial rinses, and other substances. Like the fluoride rinses, more studies must be conducted before a conclusion can be confirmed. These treatments, if they can be proven viable on the majority of the population, would reduce the use of drills, good news for any patient.
There is a vast amount of research available on remineralization. All we need to do now is figure out the best substance, the best formula to use to achieve maximum success. Most dentists are on board with this idea. Although, for some of the more seasoned dentists, it will be a weird transition. When you have been removing decay for half a lifetime, not removing it takes some getting used to.
Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at http://www.northmiamibeachdentist.com/faqs/.
Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2016