Drill-free fillings are the future as dentists develop 'self-repairing' tooth decay treatment

Electrical currents can be used to repair lost minerals in teeth

Trips to the dentist could soon be much less painful as scientists perfect a way to repair tooth decay without the need for dreaded drilling and fillings.

The technique, developed at King’s College London, effectively reverses decay by using electrical currents to boost the tooth’s natural repair process.

Minerals that are lost during decay and eventually cause painful cavities are replaced, removing the need for drilling and fillings of resin or amalgam.

The technique, known as Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), could be available within three years.

Professor Nigel Pitts, from the Dental Institute at King’s College London, said: “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.

“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.”

 The method can also be used to whiten teeth, he said.

Around 2.3 billion people are believed to suffer from tooth decay every year, making it one of the most common preventable diseases in the world.

It starts as a microscopic defect where minerals leak out of the tooth and the enamel is eventually undermined.

The method first prepares the damaged part of the enamel outer layer of the tooth, then uses a tiny electric current to draw calcium and phosphate in.

Electric currents are already used by dentists to check the pulp or nerve of a tooth.

The treatment will be launched by Reminova – a company linked to King’s College London’s Dental institute – which is seeking private investment to develop the remineralisation device.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Factory Manager - Food

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Environmental Account Manager - Remote Working

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Support / IT Sales / Graduate Sales / Trainee

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has now arisen for a Sale...

    Recruitment Genius: Administration Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable