Minimally Invasive Dentistry

What is it?

MID stands for both Minimum Intervention Dentistry and Minimally Invasive Dentistry. Minimum intervention means less ‘holes’ being drilled in teeth, and Minimally Invasive means smaller ‘ holes’, when drilling is required. It is the medical, rather than the surgical, management of decay.

How is this achieved?

With a better understanding nowadays of how dental decay progresses, and advances in dental materials, we know that it is possible to prevent decay and even reverse or arrest established decay. At a practical level, there are 4 steps involved

  • We use increased magnification with loupes and fibreoptic lighting to help us better detect very early decay.
  • We also risk assess people’s susceptibility to decay and draw up a Care Plan for them. We are then able to institute our next step
  • This can involve the use of high concentration fluoride toothpastes and mouthrinses to give teeth every chance to ‘self heal’.
  • We will suggest fissure sealing the pits/grooves of back teeth and at this stage, we also get the patient themselves involved to take ownership of this preventable disease.
  • The services of our dental hygienist are often utilised helping with assessment/reassessment of gum health and home care routines, removal of hard plaque and working with patients on the things they can do to control damaging plaque by removing it from every surface of every tooth, every day….as plaque deposits contribute greatly to decay.


  • We mainly use adhesive fillings to both seal and fill teeth when cavity drilling is required. Less tooth has to be cut away with this approach. We may even use a dental sandblaster/air abrasion instead of conventional drilling. For very small cavities, these fillings are called Preventive Resin Restorations.
  • It is also possible (when sealing teeth in this way) to leave some deep decay behind without adversely affecting the tooth and often avoiding the need for root canal treatment. Consequently, we tend to favour the tooth coloured composite filling materials over the traditional silver amalgam fillings.
  • For cosmetic cases, we tend to prefer tooth whitening. This can be either an individual dark tooth (with inside/outside bleaching) or of all the teeth. This is often combined with cosmetic bonding to close gaps/spaces etc. which is much more conservative than porcelain veneers/crowns.
  • For people who want to replace missing teeth, we often suggest adhesive or ‘sticky’ bridges over conventional bridges…again being less destructive of their teeth. After any operative intervention, the next step is….

Individualised Recall/Review

Regular review consults with the dentist are crucial as any teeth that were initially given the ’benefit of the doubt’ as regards needing filling need to be checked to see how the non-operative treatment has worked. Depending on someone’s decay risk, we will take sequential x-rays of their back teeth over time to monitor any decay progression or not.

What are the Benefits for you?

The 3 main benefits are

a) for those who struggle with going to the dentist, there is often less drilling and less injections.
b) a reduced biological cost as less of your tooth is irreversibly drilled away and
c) a reduced financial cost as utilising this treatment philosophy and approach will involve less invasive dentistry and when needed it will be less complex and thus less costly.