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Are Your Dental Treatments Really Necessary?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 31 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
Dental Decay Traditional Modern Dentist

Dental treatments are important for many of us – whether it’s to improve the look of our smile so we feel attractive and confident, or to improve functioning and oral health. But just how necessary are your dental treatments? Could you be avoiding extra dental costs, time and discomfort? Based on new evidence, the answer appears to be yes.

False Dental Alarms from Dirty Teeth

In one study of two hundred private dental patients, it was found that simply having ‘dirty teeth’ could result in unnecessary dental treatments. This type of falsely identified tooth decay could only be correctly diagnosed through an advanced dental technique that involves cleaning the teeth with a spray of fine, abrasive particles.

How Traditional Dental Examinations Work

With the more traditional dental examinations, a dentist will use a small mirror and a scraping tool to investigate the oral cavity for the classic signs of tooth decay. These tend to look like darkened shadows that are seen under the tooth enamel in the mouth.

Wrongly Identified Decay

A close look on a premolar found between the patient’s front teeth and back teeth suggested decay in nearly eighty percent of patient cases. But in reality, however, approximately sixty percent of these were falsely identified signs of decay after those same patients received an examination with the blast of fine particles.

Severe Tooth Staining Mistaken for Dental Decay

What was the reason for the mistake then? It is thought to be that the patients had a case of extremely severe tooth staining. The abrasion technique revealed the true problem of staining because it rapidly removes the dirt, debris and staining through a mist of aluminium oxide particles. This blast will thus show whether a patient has severe staining or they truly do suffer from tooth decay and require dental treatment.

Detecting Decay or Staining of Teeth

Used alongside a special laser probe that helps find really deep, more hidden decay, this technique is highly effective. The laser probe in particular works to shine a strong light through the tooth, helping the dentist detect the real problem.

The use of both the laser probe and aluminium oxide particles together results in a seventy percent higher accuracy in determining decay compared to the more traditional techniques still commonly used by dentists. The techniques are rapid, painless and do not harm teeth. They are also surprisingly affordable, making them an accessible option for most patients.

Reducing Unnecessary Dental Treatments

The consequences of this study are that if more dentists use such newer, more effective techniques, many unnecessary dental treatments can be avoided. For patients, you can also take matters into your own hands by looking for a dentist who uses modern dental techniques to detect decay.

Ensuring you avoid common tooth staining beverages such as coffee and wine as well as avoiding smoking can also help to reduce stains. This means that if you are otherwise happy with your dentist but he or she does not use this new technique, it reduces the likelihood of falsely identifying a stain as decay.

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Hello, i would like to find a homeopathic dentist in my area which is newcastle upon tyne thank you
browneyes - 31-Jul-12 @ 11:28 PM
Hi - I enjoyed perusing your website and I'm looking for a dentist in Scotland (I live in Ayrshire) can you provide a list or recommend a holistic dentist?Thank you.
Phyllis - 8-May-12 @ 10:50 AM
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