Once upon a time, if you had a cavity, a dentist would just drill and fill – usually with mercury amalgam. Dentists would call it “silver,” but that couldn’t whitewash the fact that a potent neurotoxin was being placed in the mouth, mere inches from the brain.

Not cool. Not good.

These days, there are more and better options for attending to decay-damaged teeth, especially if that decay is caught in the early stages. In fact, sometimes, we can help your tooth heal without doing any drilling at all.

For instance, ozone can keep decay from breaking through the enamel into the softer dentin within. This super-charged oxygen is a powerful disinfectant. Ozone plus rigorous home hygiene and a diet that supports natural tooth remineralization (see below) can be enough to nip early decay in the bud.

If the decay is more advanced, a new alternative called ICON can help. We just cover the decayed area with a mild acid to open up pores and clear out the decay. Then we fill the pores with a clear resin. The decay is no longer able to progress. No drill required.

ICONEven better: With ICON, there’s no margin between the tooth and restoration, so there’s less opportunity for leaks. Where standard fillings need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years due to leaky seals that let bacteria get back into the tooth, ICON restorations may not need to be.

And when a traditional filling is needed? We use fluoride-free, BPA-free composite. This safer, nontoxic alternative to amalgam requires less drilling, as well. We can conserve a lot more natural tooth structure, so your teeth stay strong. And so do the fillings. The durability of current materials is impressive.

Of course, your best option for dealing with decay is to avoid getting it at all.

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