Fear of the dentist may be a thing of the past, as scientists out of King’s College London say they have developed a “pain-free filling” that can repair cavities in teeth and replace conventional tooth decay treatment without the use of needles or drills. (No, today is not April Fools.)
Called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), the tooth decay treatment, which was revealed last year, reportedly “accelerates the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth,” reports the Guardian.
Professor Nigel Pitts, from King's College London's Dental Institute, said: "The way we treat teeth today is not ideal. When we repair a tooth by putting in a filling, that tooth enters a cycle of drilling and refilling as, ultimately, each 'repair' fails.
"Not only is our device kinder to the patient and better for their teeth, but it's expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments. Along with fighting tooth decay, our device can also be used to whiten teeth."
Instead of drilling away tooth decay and then filling the area of the tooth with amalgam or composite resin—current common tooth filling ingredients—the new technique “encourages teeth to repair themselves,” reports the Guardian.
In a rather simple two-step process, the damaged area of the tooth enamel is prepared first, then tiny electric currents push minerals into the damaged site.
The technology is similar to long-held natural treatments for cavities in which people claim to have ‘remineralized’ their teeth through diet and allowed cavities to heal, much like broken bones can self-repair.
“We in the dental research field have known about remineralization for some time,” Pitts said in an interview. “People were talking about remineralization in the 1980s, but it’s been hard to achieve a viable way that will remineralize established, large lesions in depth.”
And the best part? The technology could be available within the next few years and at costs comparable with conventional fillings. Somebody pinch me... but not with a Novocain needle! Those days are hopefully a thing of the past.
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