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New decay treatment could mean the end of cavities without the drill

A new tooth decay treatment developed in the UK could make drilling and fillings, a thing of the past, the UK’s Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

New decay treatment
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

The process would use tiny electronic pulses to help a decayed tooth rejuvenate itself. It might sound like science fiction, but scientists say it could be a practical treatment available in three years.

Most of us know the hard way that having a cavity is not fun. Current treatments involve drilling away the decay and filling it with a composite resin or amalgam filling. But the new treatment helps tooth’s natural repair process along. The process speeds up the natural movement of the repairing calcium and phosphate minerals.

The process is called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER). The new process uses a small electric current to push minerals into the site of the decayed tooth.

Scientists say the tooth is repaired without the need of traditional fixes of drilling and filling and pain.

The process would take about five minutes as a laser blast is directed to the problem tooth.

Revolutionary process

Said 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 re-filling 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."

The Guardian reports that King's College is a participant in MedCity, which was started by the London mayor, Boris Johnson, to promote entrepreneurship in the London-Oxford-Cambridge life sciences "golden triangle".

MedCity Chairman Kit Malthouse, said: "It's brilliant to see the really creative research taking place at King's making its way out of the lab so quickly and being turned into a new device that has the potential to make a real difference to the dental health and patient experience of people with tooth decay."

The new tooth decay treatment will likely begin in the UK. The company that is developing the process is based in Perth, Scotland. Reminova Ltd hopes the process could be in place within three years if it gets the proper funding to get the process in a dental chair near you.

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The press release on the new tooth decay treatment process can be found here.

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