Minimally Invasive Therapy
At Neil Starr DDS PC, we practice minimally invasive therapy (minimally invasive dentistry, microdentistry). With this type of treatment, we avoid unnecessary invasive dental treatments and minimize the amount of "drilling and filling". In this way, we preserve more of your natural tooth structure. We use the least amount of dental intervention required to protect the health of your mouth. If tooth structure needs to be removed, we remove the smallest amount possible to restore your teeth back to their original state. Several procedures can be used for minimally invasive therapy, all of which are designed to provide a long-term plan for maintaining the health of your mouth and avoid the risk of future deterioration.
Assessing Your Risk for CavitiesCavities, which are caused by the acids produced by oral bacteria, destroy the structure of your teeth, which can then lead to weakened teeth and infections. We can examine your teeth and assess your risk of developing cavities. We can also help you to reduce your risk of developing cavities with dental sealants. While sealants are often associated with children, they can be beneficial for adults as well. Sealants are made up of a plastic resin, which is applied to the chewing surfaces of your molars and/or premolars, helping to protect your teeth from debris, plaque, and bacteria.
Composite Resin FillingsIf you do have a cavity, composite resin fillings can be used. The goal of composite resin fillings is to restore the health of your teeth. Amalgam fillings can weaken, or compromise, the strength of your tooth. They also require more of your tooth structure to be removed to accommodate the filling. Composite resin fillings, on the other hand, bond with the structure of your teeth, and help to provide strength, while requiring minimal preparation.
Inlays/OnlaysWhen there is more extensive damage (decay) to your tooth, a crown is often recommended to restore its strength and structure. However, crowns require a significant amount of your enamel to be removed. Inlays and onlays, on the other hand, minimize the amount of tooth preparation that is required. Inlays are used for smaller damage, while onlays are used for larger reconstructive needs (often called a partial crown). Both are a type of indirect filling, custom created from an impression of your mouth and are cemented into place. They help to protect your teeth from future decay.
RemineralizationEarly tooth decay can be reversed by remineralizing your teeth. This involves the use of fluoride treatments, which provide your teeth with the minerals they need to restore strength. This helps to avoid the typical "drill it and fill it" approach.
Occlusal Guards (Splints)Bruxism, or the grinding and clenching of your teeth (often while you sleep), can cause serious damage to your teeth, including excessive wear, fractures, loose teeth, and tooth loss. An occlusal guard, or splint, is a custom fit oral device that is worn on your teeth while you sleep. It acts as a shock absorber, helping to prevent further damage to your teeth.
For more information on minimally invasive therapy, or to schedule your appointment, call Neil Starr DDS PC today at (202) 293-7177.