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Could EAER be the answer to pain free dentistry?

Recent developments in the dental industry appear to have discovered an alternative to standard dental fillings – the current treatment of tooth decay. Dentists at Kings College London have developed a new pain-free treatment which does not require uncomfortable drilling or injections.

Instead, the new treatment remineralises and repairs decayed teeth. This remineralisation process has been a topic of great interest for a number a decades, however it has taken considerable time to establish an effective way of implementing it and achieving positive outcomes.

Currently when you attend the dentist and discover you have developed a decay you have one choice to halt further deterioration and tooth loss – a filling. This requires drilling to remove the decayed area and is then filled with materials such as amalgam or composite resin.

More often than not the repair of this tooth results in discomfort and/or pain for patients. Yet, with the discovery of an innovative cavity treatment called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER) this could all be about to change.

This treatment is a two-step process that accelerates the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into a damaged tooth. Firstly, the damaged enamel of the tooth is prepared and a ‘mineral cocktail’ is applied. Following this a small electrical current is used to persuade minerals to enter the repair site to encourage ‘natural healing’.

The electrical current of this new device will use less than the charges currently utilised for other dental procedures such as electric pulp testing. Furthermore, the procedure will be imperceptible to patients.

It is predicted that this could boost dental health in the general population due to minimised pain experienced during the procedure, which often deters patients from seeking dental treatment.

It is believed that this development will be pain free and gentler on patients than the current approach to treating tooth decay. Teeth will be painlessly remineralised, with no need for injections, drilling or filling of teeth.

It is anticipated that this treatment will be available within the next three years and according to one of the inventors, Professor Nigel Pitts, of King’s College London Dental Institute, the new treatment is predicted to be as economical as current treatments.

Furthermore, Professor Pitts also claims that the device used within this process also acts as a tooth whitener. However, it should be noted that this new technique is not without its limitations and although it is predicted to treat decay at various stages, it is unlikely that the electric current will work on highly developed decays.

In saying that, research is still in the preliminary stages and with additional study and exploration it is expected that considerable developments will be made to progress the technique. Nevertheless, at this point it must be understood that this procedure will be unable to regrow a tooth.

As an extension of the King’s College London Dental Innovation and Translation Centre, ‘Reminova’ a Scottish based company has been established to develop the technique and device. Reminova is at present seeking private funding and investors to assist in transforming the new technology from a demonstration into an operational and marketable product that can be used by dentists worldwide.


Sources:

Dearden, Lizzie. “Drill-free fillings are the future as dentists develop ‘self-repairing’ tooth decay treatments,” The Independent, June 16, 2014 Link to source (accessed June 25, 2014).

Gallagher, James. “Dentists aim for drill-free future,” BBC News Health, June 16, 2014, Link to source (accessed June 24, 2014).

Kings College London, “King’s spin-out will put tooth decay in a ‘time warp’,” June 16, 2014, Link to source (accessed June 25, 2014).

Philipson, Alice. “The new tooth decay treatment that could see fillings become an unpleasant memory,” The telegraph, June 16, 2014, Link to source (accessed June, 24, 2014).

Phillip, Abby. “This new technology may put an end to drilling at the dentist’s office,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2014, Link to source (accessed June, 29, 2014).

Rundle, Michael. “Dentists’ drills could be a thing of the past thanks to ‘Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation’,” The Huffington Post, June 16, 2014, Link to source (accessed June 26th, 2014).

Willey, Jo. “Tooth that repairs itself will silence the dreaded dentist’s drill,” Express, June 16, 2014, Link to source (accessed June 25, 2014).

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