How Scientists in the UK Are Developing a Treatment That Could Get Teeth to Heal Themselves
New cosmetic dental procedures are being developed all the time to give people a way to improve and protect their smiles without having to go through the wringer. A century ago, nearly 50% of the adults in North America were toothless. Thanks to the improvement of general and cosmetic dental treatments, less than 10% of North American adults 65-years-old and older have lost their teeth. We’ve certainly come a long way.
A new cosmetic dental treatment being developed at King’s College London could mark the biggest revolution in dental technology since the first nylon toothbrush with a plastic handle was invented, in 1938. Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralization (EAER) promises to give dentists a way to rebuild and heal teeth that have cavities, without the painful, expensive process of having to drill into teeth. While the technology isn’t available on the open market just yet, The Washington Post reports that within the next three years, dentists across the world will have this game-changing tech in their offices.
How Does EAER Treatment Work?
EAER works by using minerals found in human saliva, and an electrical current, to speed up the body’s natural ability to remineralize and strengthen teeth. The concept is simple enough: a cavity occurs when your teeth lose the minerals in the enamel, thereby opening up a decaying hole in the tooth. By adding more of the minerals found in human saliva, like calcium, to the site of dental caries and then applying a current, family and cosmetic dentistry professionals can mimic the remineralization process at a much higher speed, effectively forcing the tooth to rebuild itself and heal any cavities — no drill and no pain required.
What Would Be the Effect of Self-Healing Cavities?
92% of American adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, have had at least one cavity. For every cavity that needs to be filled using current methods, Americans can expect to pay somewhere between $34 and $4,500, according to CostHelper.com, depending on the type of filling they get and whether or not they have insurance.
EAER is poised to take a lot of the costs out of dental cosmetics. While there is no definite price for the procedure just yet, many in the industry believe that EAER could not only reduce the discomfort and anxiety many feel over having their teeth drilled, but also greatly reduce the cost versus the most common cosmetic dental treatments currently being used. While it will be a few years until EAER is used regularly, the benefits of the new procedure are well worth the wait.
What do you think about this new dental technology? Is it just the stuff of science fiction, or do you think it’s a great new way to solve one of the most common dental problems? Share your opinions in the comments below.