The fear of the dentist is among the most common causes of trepidation people face today. While most of that fear is not tied to an actual traumatic experience in the dental chair, it is true that some dental procedures can be uncomfortable or even painful under certain circumstances. More often than not, it’s the anticipation of possible pain that fuels a fear of visiting the dentist.
Typically, if your dentist or hygienist notices either a cavity or signs of demineralization behind the enamel, their recommended treatment plan involves drilling into the tooth to remove any diseased tissue and installing a “filling” to protect the inside of the tooth from further damage. While it’s rare for patients to experience serious pain during these procedures, discomfort can occur. And, the physical sensation of a tooth being drilled can be unpleasant to say the least.
That’s why a procedure that originated in 2009, and officially received its own procedural code from the American Dental Association (ADA) in 2013, has become very popular with dental professionals and patients alike. It’s called Resin Infiltration Technique (RIT), and it provides a fast, painless, and highly effective alternative to traditional drilling and filling for pre-caries conditions including demineralization and unsightly white spots beneath the enamel.
What is Resin Infiltration Technique
"If your dentist or hygienist notices either a cavity or signs of demineralization behind the enamel, their recommended treatment plan involves drilling into the tooth to remove any diseased tissue and installing a “filling” to protect the inside of the tooth from further damage."
In layman’s terms, RIT involves the application of a chemically treated resin to the surface of teeth that have been weakened by the loss of vital minerals that make up the interior of the teeth or decay, but still have a coating of enamel that is in tact.
This resin is designed to seep into the tiny, microscopic holes that permeate the surface enamel of your teeth and fill in the honeycomb of spaces left behind by demineralization or decay. By filling spaces within the tooth with resin, the technique effectively seals the tooth from the infiltration of damaging acids and halts the spread of damage that could eventually become an exposed and painful cavity.
The treatment is painless because it requires no drilling or even strong pressure to be applied to the teeth or gums. Instead, the sensation is similar to brushing the teeth for an extended period as the resin is applied, cured via UV light, then polished.
As an added benefit, the technique permanently eliminates unsightly white spots and streaks that commonly form in teeth that are in a pre-cavity state, offering an inexpensive, quick, and painless alternative to costly cosmetic options like bleaching or capping of some discolored teeth.
Is RIT right for you?
Many people claim to have “soft teeth”, meaning their teeth seem especially prone to getting cavities. While the claim that some individuals are genetically predisposed to tooth decay is still debated among dental professionals, it’s undisputed that a history of poor or inconsistent oral health habits will lead to repeated problems with cavities, along with other problems.
If you’re hoping to improve your oral health, RIT may offer an effective option for giving your damaged teeth a new lease on life and providing a great starting off point for your new, better oral hygiene habits.
Check with your dentist to see if they offer RIT and what they recommend for your specific oral condition. If you need assistance with the cost of your oral health care, look into joining a discount dental program that offers discounts on general and advanced oral procedures.