What Is Conservative Dentistry?

defendWhen you have a dental issue you may automatically think you are going to lose your tooth. In fact, some patients probably rather have a tooth extracted than have a root canal or other dental treatment, especially those suffering with dental fear and anxiety. However, it is better to salvage as much of the damaged tooth as possible rather than remove it. Dentists that take this approach believe in what is called minimally invasive and/or conservative dentistry.

Save it Don’t Replace it

When practicing conservative dentistry, dentists do all they can to limit the number of teeth removed due to decay or damage and to preserve as much of the healthy structure as is reasonably possible. The aim of conservative dentistry, also referred to as minimally invasive dentistry, is to preserve as many teeth as possible so the patient keeps most of their original teeth for as long as they can.

How to Save it

When performing procedures to remove damaged or diseased tissue, dentists who practice conservative dentistry attempt to limit the amount of healthy tooth structure removed. To this end, they will focus on procedures that will “conserve” or save the tooth when it is a viable option. In an effort to do this they:

  • Carefully evaluate the dental problem
  • Determine the extent of the issue
  • Develop a plan of approach that is consistent with saving the tooth

Some ways to save damaged, decayed, or infected teeth include fillings and root canals. In such cases the dentist will carefully remove the damaged, infected, or decayed tooth structure while leaving the healthy material behind. A variety of approaches are available when practicing conservative dentistry.

If All Else Fails

In the end, if the tooth is too badly decayed or damaged to save, extraction may be the only option. Extraction is often the only option when a pulpal infection cannot be controlled–especially for patients with compromised immune systems–rather than risk serious illness.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.