A newly developed pain-free way of tackling dental decay apparently reverses the damage of acid attack and rebuilds teeth as new. This new, experimental treatment may be an opportunity to transform dental care forever.
Tooth decay begins when acid produced by bacteria in plaque dissolves the mineral in the teeth, causing microscopic holes or ‘pores’ to form. As decay worsens, the holes increase in size and number. Eventually the damaged tooth may have to be drilled and filled, or even removed, to prevent further problems.
The idea of having a tooth drilled often keeps people from going to see their dentist, even if they may not need treatment. This tendency to skip regular dental check ups or ignore small aches or pains in order to avoid seeing a dentist means that existing problems often worsen and early signs of decay in other teeth end up overlooked.
In an exciting development, researchers at the University of Leeds have come up with an amazing new way to treat the first signs of tooth decay, completely painlessly. Their solution is to arm dentists with a peptide-based fluid that is painted onto the tooth’s surface. The peptide technology is based on how the tooth originally forms in the mouth, and stimulates regeneration of the enamel.
When applied to the tooth, the fluid seeps into the micro-pores caused by acid degeneration and then spontaneously forms a gel. This gel then provides a framework that attracts calcium and regenerates the tooth’s mineral from within, providing a natural and pain-free repair.
“The results of our tests so far are extremely promising,” said Professor Paul Brunton, who is overseeing the patient testing at the University of Leeds Dental Institute. “If these results can be repeated on a larger patient group, then I have no doubt whatsoever that in two to three years time this technique will be available for dentists to use in their daily practice.”
Dr. Kotre and her staff believe that prevention is always the best way to prevent cavities from forming in the first place. Seeing a dentist regularly, at least twice a year, brushing a minimum of twice a day, and flossing daily can all help prevent most dental interventions. If you have any tooth discomfort, it’s important to contact a dentist immediately to be examined for potential issues.
If you or a family member are having any discomfort, or simply need to schedule a 6 month check up, please contact our Ann Arbor dental office today at 734-611-2156.