A team of researchers at King’s College London have developed a completely painless method to reverse tooth decay by encouraging teeth to repair themselves. The method is still a long way off wide-spread commercial use but scientists believe that the technology could mean that cavities no longer need to be treated with drilling and fillings, particularly cavities in young children.
Dental caries is one of the most common preventable diseases, with about 2.3 billion people suffering from it every year worldwide.
Caries or decay is the result of oral bacteria acting on sugar to create acid which will dissolve tooth tissue. The dissolution of a tooth with this acid lasts for approximately one hour.
When a tooth starts decaying, dentists usually drill inside the enamel to remove the decay and then fill in the cavity with a substance like an amalgam or composite resin to seal it off. However, for younger children, the filling of milk teeth has divided opinion.
However, scientists at KCL believe this way of treating decay is not the optimal solution. Instead, the method is known as Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER) allows the tooth to self-repair, as a slight electric current stimulated the natural regeneration of calcium and phosphates in the tooth.
According to Professor Nigel Pitts from King’s College London’s Dental Institute, the technology can be as cost-effective as the currently available treatments of tooth decay, but it is better for patients and gentler on their teeth. Fillings often lead to a repeated repair cycle and the new method could eliminate this problem, he added.
Researchers believe the method could reach dental clinics in about three years.
- Read more tips on how to prevent tooth decay.
- See how sugar intake reduction is the best prevention of tooth decay.
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems faced by both children and adults in the UK Treating a rotting tooth by root canal surgery or fillings are among a few of the procedures that most people find intimidating and unpleasant.
These sometimes painful experiences could soon be over. A team of US scientists has discovered a new way to treat tooth decay.
Researchers from Taiwan have designed a tooth that can gather data on mouth movements and transmit them to a computer or a smartphone. The device is believed to be of great help to doctors as it can allow them to collect information about patients’ behaviour and their eating habits.
The artificial tooth resembles a typical molar, the difference being that it has an accelerometer placed inside.