One of the main problems with encouraging people to visit your practice, no matter how good your dental marketing is, is fear of painful drilling and fillings. Many people in the UK are terrified of visiting the dentist due to the risk that they will need an unpleasant procedure that will end up hurting.
However, thanks to advances in dental technology this may no longer be the case. Scientists working at King’s College London have developed a method of getting teeth to repair themselves, getting rid of the need for a drill. The hi-tech treatment uses a painless electrical current instead.
The way the new technology – dubbed ‘Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation’ (EAER) – works is surprisingly simple. Currently, the decayed part of a tooth is drilled away, and the gap filled with a filling made of resin or amalgam. With EAER, the decay is healed and rebuilt rather than removed.
First, the damaged enamel is prepared. Then, electric currents are used to push minerals such as calcium into the decay, allowing it to heal. There is no need for drilling, and the entire process is pain-free. The technology could be available for use on patients in as little as three years.
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 refilling 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.”
This could change the way dental care works in the UK on a permanent basis. If painful drilling is no longer an issue, patients will be far less likely to avoid dental appointments out of fear. This means tooth decay can be kept in check easily, as patients will not wait until the last minute to get it treated.