You've got to love scientists who are beavering away behind the scenes trying to make your visits to the dentist less harrowing in the future. These clever people are now developing technologies and techniques that could mean the end of cavities and fillings for you. Is this too good to be true? What is in the pipeline, currently?
New Techniques Ahead
Scientists at a number of different universities are trying to perfect a technique that will be commercially available to dentists, which can rebuild teeth with minimal discomfort. It's designed to "re-mineralise" the teeth after any work is done, enhancing the body's natural tendency to repair the enamel.
In the process, known as "electrically accelerated and enhanced remineralisation" different minerals (including phosphate and calcium) are introduced in a two step process. To begin with, the dentist will conduct the normal repair process after any procedure, but then they will use a specially designed tool in the next step. This will deliver minerals through the tool by using an electric current. It is this particular instrument that is the focus of the development and in the process of perfection right now.
Using Mother Nature
Scientists believe that this will be revolutionary as they will be effectively using the body's own natural materials to repair, rather than inserting an artificially-made filling as before. Fillings are not designed to last forever, and it's likely that more dental work will be needed over time, perhaps including a bridge or other advanced methods. The new process, however, will actually promote the existing enamel to rebuild itself, and this can reverse any decay in the teeth at the same time. In the ultimate analysis, fillings will not be needed and nor will the patient have to deal with the discomfort associated with injections at the beginning of such a process.
So, rather than the dentist having to go into "repair" mode whenever any issue is discovered, it may well be possible to simply augment the enamel that's already in place, giving it the ability to defend against the erosion itself.
Given a Helping Hand
Of course, it's best if the patient reduces the amount of acid that comes into contact with the teeth at source. It is the erosion caused by the acid that produces the problem with the enamel in the first place. If the diet can be regulated to minimise sugary acid, then the new process will simply help to promote long-term oral health.