Dental researchers at Reminova Ltd, a spin-out company from King’s College London, have developed a technique that triggers the tooth’s natural repair process to reverse decay, and it could be available within 3 years.
The technique called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), uses electrical currents to trigger minerals in the tooth to repair damage without any drills, injections or fillings required.
The result is that the cavity is remineralised with calcium and phosphate painlessly.
The 2-step method first prepares the damaged part of the enamel outer layer of the tooth and then uses a tiny electric current to ‘push’ minerals into the tooth to repair the damaged site. The treatment is said to be entirely painless.
Electric currents are already used by dentists to check the pulp or nerve of a tooth, the new device uses a much smaller current than that currently used on patients, and won’t be able to be felt by the patient.
“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 refilling as, ultimately, each ‘repair’ fails,” said professor Nigel Pitts of King’s College London Dental Institute in a press release.
“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.”
However the technique does have its limits: it’s unlikely to work on decay and cavities that are too far along, and won’t be able to regrow entire teeth.
But according to the researchers, this technology effectively stimulates teeth to heal themselves, may also be able to whiten them and should be available within 3 years.
The company is currently seeking private investment to develop their remineralisation device.