A trip to the dentista��s office shouldna��t bring fear to the hearts of patients, but in many cases it does – usually because of one piece of equipment: the drill. In dental hygienist school students learn that dental phobia is a legitimate condition that causes some patients to skip out on important check-ups, allowing oral problems to go untreated.A� It is truly a vicious cycle of avoidance and deteriorating mouth health.
For some of us, suffering the consequences of tooth decay and cavities seems like a fair trade for escaping the sound of the drill or feeling the pinch of a needle. Fortunately, this destructive pattern may finally be coming to an end with an amazing new technology that could banish the drill forever!
A Natural Alternative to the Drill
Nigel Pitts, a professor at Kinga��s College London, and his partner Christopher Longbottom are developing a method that uses a small electric current to encourage a damaged tooth to repair itself naturally. Known as Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), the technique speeds up the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the tooth.
This technology builds on a concept that began in the 1980s. Back then, researchers knew that remineralisation was the way to go, but couldna��t think of a viable way to encourage the process. Pitts and Longbottom, both dentists, found a way to move natural barriers such as saliva and tissue and then apply a current to speed the process along.
Coming Soon to a Dental Office Near You
The pair have formed a company in Scotland called Reminova to raise funds and run patient trials in partnership with Kinga��s College. Theya��ll be using what Pitt described to the Washington Post as a a�?healing hand piecea�? that is placed directly on the tooth for only a few minutes.
This doesna��t mean that students in dental assistant training will begin practising this technique tomorrow, but if someone were to become a Dental Hygienist now, therea��s a good chance that theya��ll be using EAER soon enough, and not just to treat tooth decay. The device is supposed to help with tooth whitening, too.
Pitts and Longbottom hope to have their device in dental offices in the UK in three years, which Pitt calls a conservative estimate. American approval may take longer and no word on when this may come to Canada – but drill-wary patients are hoping for sooner than later.
It may be easy to see how a drill-free solution for cavities can lessen anxiety and an unwarranted and harmful fear of the dentist, but what about its financial cost? Well, patients and dental professionals alike can rest assured that this procedure is not only designed to have the same desired result as a traditional filling, but ita��s expected to cost roughly the same, too.
So what do you think? Is this the greatest thing since sliced bread or will the no-pain option encourage patients to care less about cavity prevention?