Novel Tooth Treatment May Replace Dental Drilling

Researchers at King’s College London say they have developed a method of repairing teeth that may eliminate the need for drilling and filling, and have established a startup to commercialize their process.

The two-step process, called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralization (EAER), applies a small electric current that encourages the tooth to repair itself by speeding up the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth. The process first prepares the damaged part of the enamel outer layer of the tooth, then uses a tiny electric current to ‘push’ minerals into the tooth to repair the damaged site. The defect is remineralized in a painless process that requires no drills, no injections and no filling materials.

Professor Nigel Pitts, from King’s College London’s Dental Institute, says, “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.”

Pitts, who is a professor of dental health, director of the Innovation and Translation Centre for the Dental Institute, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, continues, “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.”

Researchers at King’s College London say they have developed a method of repairing teeth that may eliminate the need for drilling and filling, and have established a startup to commercialize their process.

The two-step process, called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralization (EAER), applies a small electric current that encourages the tooth to repair itself by speeding up the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth. The process first prepares the damaged part of the enamel outer layer of the tooth, then uses a tiny electric current to ‘push’ minerals into the tooth to repair the damaged site. The defect is remineralized in a painless process that requires no drills, no injections and no filling materials.

Professor Nigel Pitts, from King’s College London’s Dental Institute, says, “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.”

Pitts, who is a professor of dental health, director of the Innovation and Translation Centre for the Dental Institute, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, continues, “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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