Whether it’s the painful prodding or the loud drilling, many people dread the dentist. Avoiding the dentist, however, can result in a number of issues such as cavities or even the dreaded root canal. But a new pain-free option might be just around the corner.
According to new research from King's College London, scientists there are trying to implement a new tooth-rebuilding technique. This will allow and encourage teeth to repair themselves instead of just filling the decay. The technique is called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), which helps to increase the movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into a decayed tooth.
“By accelerating the natural process by which calcium and phosphate minerals re-enter the tooth to repair a defect, the device boosts the tooth’s natural repair process,” Kings College London said in a news release, “Dentistry has been trying to harness this process for the last few decades, but the King’s breakthrough means the method could soon be in use at the dentist’s chair.”
The company, called Reminova Ltd, is the maker of this two-step process, and it could be available within the next three years. Reminova is a subsidiary of Kings College London. Here’s how it works: The machine repairs the damaged part of the outer layer of the enamel. Then, there is a tiny electric current that helps to accelerate the minerals into the tooth — helping to repair the decay. The tooth is then reminerlized, which means that minerals are returned to the molecular structure of the decayed tooth. The dentist then uses electric currents to check the nerve of the tooth.
“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 re-filling as, ultimately, each ‘repair’ fails,” said Professor Nigel Pitts from the Dental Institute at King’s College London in a statement.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, one in every five Americans has untreated cavities.
"Untreated tooth decay is prevalent in the U.S.," said report co-author Dr. Bruce Dye, an epidemiologist at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "It appears that we haven't been able to make any significant strides during the last decade to reduce untreated cavities.” This new treatment could potentially prevent tooth decay from progressing into worse dental issues and could be used for other dental needs. “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."