Some say that in the future we’ll all work at home, drive flying cars, and never need to have a cavity drilled.
Actually, one of those predictions may be coming true sooner than you think.
Researchers at King’s College in London are presently testing a device that may one day make the dental drill as obsolete as a buggy whip. This technology, called “electrically accelerated and enhanced remineralization”, promises to be quick, effective, and painless. Best of all, if its developers are on target, it could be ready for use in dentist’s offices in as little as three years.
How does it work? Essentially, by speeding up the natural remineralization process by which minerals lost from teeth early in the decay process are replaced with minerals from saliva or fluoride. “We in the dental research field have known about remineralization for some time,” said Professor Nigel Pitts, the project leader. The challenge has been to make the process faster and allow it to work deeper into the tooth.
Pitts and his team used a minute electric current to help the tooth take up necessary minerals. If the technology they are pioneering is successful, a “healing hand piece” (instead of a drill) might one day be placed on the prepared tooth for an easy and painless cavity-reversing procedure.
So what are they waiting for? Funding, development, patient trials, and regulatory approval are a few of the hurdles still to be crossed. But Pitts and his team are optimistic that they can deliver in the near future. Then maybe they could get started on the flying cars…