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Minimally Invasive Dentistry: The new normal

By Dr Sumaiya Hasan

Since the outbreak of COVID19, the majority of dental practices and OPDs have been shut down. However, the need for dental treatment amongst the public has not decreased significantly. Closing dental practices during the pandemic can reduce the number of affected individuals, but will increase the suffering of the individuals in need of urgent dental care. It will also increase the burden on hospitals in emergency departments. Therefore, continuing dental practices while following SOPs and modification of the dental treatment protocol is the need of time. While much has been talked about teledentistry, Minimally Invasive Dentistry (MID) to limit aerosol production can also play a significant role in this aspect.

What is Minimally Invasive Dentistry?

Minimally Invasive Dentistry focuses on preserving healthy tooth structure through prevention, remineralization, and minimal operative intervention for the placement and replacement of restorations. This philosophy is not limited to restorative dentistry and can be used across all dental platforms to provide patients with the most appropriate care. 

MID – The frontline dentistry during pandemic and its dimensions:

While MID emerged with an objective of tissue conservation, its protocols allow it to be a favourable option to be applied during a pandemic and after the epidemic. In an attempt to conserve tooth structure, there is limited use of rotary devices and therefore less aerosol generation. MID can be applied in several clinical scenarios such as,

  • Adequate field isolation, selective removal of caries via minimally invasive operative techniques and using adhesive or bioactive material for restoration. 
  • Periodontal health of patients can be achieved by non-surgical periodontal treatment. To avoid the spread of aerosol, manual scaling and root planning can be performed.
  • Conservative preparations for fixed prosthesis

While Minimally Invasive Dentistry won’t be the complete solution, it offers a safer way to provide care and improve a patient’s health. At present, the majority of dental practices and OPDs are only performing emergency dental procedures. Nevertheless, if the pandemic extends for an unknown period, continuing elective dental practice will be a necessity. In such a scenario, MID, applied with appropriate protocols, will fill the loopholes to some extent. The importance of cross infection control protocols, on the other hand, cannot be neglected.

-The author is a contributing writer for Dental News Pakistan and can be reached at sumaiya.hasan3@gmail.com.

July 9, 2020

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