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posted by Woods on Wednesday June 18 2014, @11:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-dentists-slightly-less-scary dept.

The dreaded whirring and grinding of dental drills could soon become a thing of the past as the Guardian reports that scientists at King's College London have developed a new pain-free filling that allows cavities to be repaired without drilling or injections. The tooth-rebuilding technique also does away with fillings and instead encourages teeth to repair themselves.

Around 2.3 billion people are believed to suffer from tooth decay every year, making it one of the most common preventable diseases in the world. Cavities start as a microscopic defect where minerals leak out of the tooth and the enamel is eventually undermined. The new treatment, called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), accelerates the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth by first preparing the damaged area of enamel, then using a tiny electric current to push minerals into the repair site. "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," says Professor Nigel Pitts. "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."

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Silentknyght on Thursday June 19 2014, @01:40AM

    by Silentknyght (1905) on Thursday June 19 2014, @01:40AM (#57214)

    So, where do the minerals come from? Are they present in some reserve from within the device, or are they drawn from elsewhere in your body?

    And, how "fast" is this device? I notice that the word "accelerated" is carefully used. Somehow it seems unlikely to be as quick as your "standard" cavity filling at the dentist.

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday June 19 2014, @02:09AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 19 2014, @02:09AM (#57223) Journal
    Picture yourself with something bulbous wrapping around your affected tooth, attached by a tube+wires to a back-carried 20l (5 gallons) reservoir of heavy mineralized solution, pumped and electrolized into your tooth by some goldberg contraption powered by your walking; ah, yes, for about an year.
    Not pretending this is the correct answer but, at least, is this in line with your question?

    Somehow it seems unlikely to be as quick as your "standard" cavity filling at the dentist.

    Since a tooth filling addresses the effect, it is likely that you'll need a new filling after some years. The above described solution would address the cause and keep your tooth intact.
    Ummm.. not interested? Not even to know (and show others) you have nerdly and principially sound lifestyle? Still no? You sure? (well, some might []).

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Reziac on Thursday June 19 2014, @02:45AM

    by Reziac (2489) on Thursday June 19 2014, @02:45AM (#57240) Homepage

    It sounds like it's glorified electroplating (calcium IS a metal, after all). And since the area to be repaired is generally fairly small, it probably won't take very long. Watch this: []