A filling is one of the most common procedures carried out by dentists. But just the thought of anesthetic injections followed by the sound of the drill is enough to send shivers down the spine of many people.
But a new technology developed by British scientists could dramatically reduce the need for unpleasant dental drilling.
Based in the Scottish city of Perth, Reminova say their patented technology can painlessly repair teeth by ‘supercharging’ the remineralization of tooth enamel.
Demineralization, which makes tooth enamel weaker and more porous, occurs when dental plaque bacteria ferment sugars in the mouth that in turn produce acid that pull out the minerals in the tooth. If not caught early enough it results in dental caries – also known as a cavities or decay. These can only be dealt with by drilling away the affected area and replacing with a filling of amalgam or composite resin; starting people on a life-long cycle of ‘repair and replacement’.
“Traditionally, the way we have dealt with dental caries is to basically drill the decay out and fill it with a filling material. But the problem with that is, once you start in that cycle – fillings don’t last forever – so the fillings will need to be repaired and replaced. And you’re really in that cycle of repair and replacement for the rest of the tooth’s life,” said Dr. Rebecca Moazzez from King’s College London.
Remineralization is a natural process where minerals present in saliva and some foods enter the tooth enamel to make it stronger and more dense. But Reminova’s prototype device can speed up this process to the same amount of time it would take to have a filling — but painlessly, without injections and drilling.