There is no question that we live in an amazing world as it relates to dental technology, dental materials, and our ability to treat our patients. Adhesive resin materials and techniques have been a significant accomplishment, allowing us to practice minimal-intervention dentistry and conserve tooth structure. The minimally invasive approach to dentistry is certainly here, and we practice it every day in our offices. How do we take this approach to the next step and go beyond bonding? It has always been my dream to be able to treat diseased tooth structure without having to use invasive techniques. If you perform an invasive procedure into these white spot lesions, and the tooth is a virgin tooth, you will have to restore it, knowing that the future of this tooth will include repeating this restoration a number of times over the patientís lifetime. The restoration will get bigger and bigger, someday possibly involving the pulp. If you do nothing, chances are the lesion will cavitate anyway, but you just donít feel right about cutting into this tooth at this time. This is where the wonderful world of remineralization comes into play for your patients.
A little known consequence of certain vitamin deficiencies is a number of conditions that can affect the mouth. One of the vitamins that are essential for oral health is vitamin B, or more specifically, the B-complex vitamins. The B-complex vitamins are actually a group of eight vitamins, which include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid and biotin. Aside from helping to maintain oral comfort and health, the B-complex vitamins are essential for the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (this provides energy for the body), the breakdown of fats and proteins (which aids the normal functioning of the nervous system), muscle tone in the stomach and intestinal tract, as well as maintaining the skin, hair, eyes and liver.
We have all been told that vitamins are good for us, but I would like to take a minute to go over what vitamins are and how they work. The word vitamin is derived from a combination of words -- vital amine -- and was conceived by Polish chemist Casimir Funk in 1912. Funk isolated vitamin B1, or thiamine, from rice. This was determined to be one of the vitamins that prevented beriberi, a disease marked by inflammatory or degenerative changes of the nerves, digestive system and heart. Vitamins are organic (carbon containing) molecules that mainly function as catalysts for reactions within the body. A catalyst is a substance that allows a chemical reaction to occur using less energy and less time than it would take under normal conditions. If these catalysts are missing, as in a vitamin deficiency, normal body functions can break down and render a person susceptible to disease.