So you might be familiar with the old post “No Brushing, No Flussing for 5 years and No Cavities” but what about self-healing teeth?
UK scientists have developed a new technique that encourages teeth to self-repair as a novel way to treat tooth decay in a breakthrough they hope will make drilling and filling a thing of the past.
“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,” said Professor Nigel Pitts from the Dental Institute at King’s College London in a press release.
In conventional treatment a dentist first opens a hole and extracts the decayed area from the rotten tooth. Next, the cavity is filled with materials such as amalgam or composite resin.
Dental cavities develop when minerals such as calcium and phosphate that naturally flow in and out of the teeth in processes known as remineralisation and demineralisation are lost without sufficient replenishment, enabling bacteria to penetrate into the tissue of the teeth.
“We in the dental research field have known about remineralisation for some time,” said Pitts in an interview with the Washington Post. “People were talking about remineralization in the 1980s, but it’s been hard to achieve a viable way that will remineralise established, large lesions in depth.”
The new treatment, called electrically accelerated and enhanced remineralisation (EAER), uses a minor electric current to direct a mineral cocktail to the cavity, promoting self repair.
Dentists have for years been using electric currents to check the teeth’s pulps and nerves. The novel device uses a smaller current, which does not cause any discomfort to patients. Apart from treating cavities, the equipment can also used for whitening teeth.
About 2.3 billion people are afflicted with tooth decay annually, and the World Health Organisation estimates that 60 to 90 percent of schoolchildren and almost 100 percent of adults suffer from cavities.
The scientists have set up a company named Reminova and are currently seeking private investors.