Could Dental Fillings Soon Be a Thing of the Past?

Imagine if you never needed another filling. What would it be like if you didn’t need to worry about ever getting a tooth cavity? Sounds great, right? Well thanks to a breakthrough dental treatment that is being developed in Europe, living “cavity free” could soon be a reality.

“Tooth enamel is comprised mostly of minerals,” explains Philadelphia dentist Dr. Pamela Doray. “Because it is lacking essential cells and proteins, tooth enamel can’t regenerate itself quickly like our skin can. If too much mineral is lost, the enamel becomes weak, and that’s when a cavity can start to form.”

A filling is generally used to treat a cavity, says Dr. Doray. In her Philadelphia dental office, she uses white fillings, which are made of a composite resin. If a tooth has significant decay or structural damage, she might use a porcelain inlay or onlay, or a porcelain crown.

New Technology Could Eliminate Dental Fillings in the Future

But Dr. Doray and other dentists are keeping an eye on a new treatment that is being developed by dental researchers from King’s College London. A new company called Reminova Ltd. has been formed to commercialize the researchers’ work.

Reminova is developing a device that uses a tiny electric current to accelerate the remineralization process and “heal” tooth enamel. The treatment requires no drills, injections or filling materials. Developers say the electric current used by the device is painless and much smaller than the one being used by dentists today to check the pulp or nerve of a tooth.

According to the researchers from Kings College London, the treatment could be available in as few as three years. It is also expected to be very cost effective, at least comparable to that of current dental treatments. The technology can also be used to whiten teeth.

How to Prevent Tooth Cavities Naturally

Even though this is a promising treatment, Dr. Doray says there are simple things people can do now to improve the health of their teeth and lower their risk for tooth decay.

“Cavities are the number one most preventable dental condition,” stresses Dr. Doray. “I can’t encourage patients enough to eat fresh foods, limit sodas and sports drinks and avoid sugary or starchy snacks.”

Dr. Doray says that saliva contains calcium and phosphate and is a natural healing agent for tooth enamel. Drinking coffee, tea and alcohol can reduce saliva production. So while it’s ok to drink these beverage occasionally, Dr. Doray says don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Dr. Doray also reminds patients to brush twice a day using a non-abrasive, fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day and visit the dentist office regularly.

Healthy food choices to prevent tooth decay Infographic

Foods That Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay

Including milk, yogurt and cheese. Dr. Doray does caution that some yogurt can be high in sugar, so remember to drink water along with your favorite snacks.

Leafy Greens
Like dairy, leafy greens are high in calcium, as well as other important minerals. Always go for seconds of spinach, kale and broccoli.

High Fiber Fruits & Vegetables
Go for crisp fresh fruits and vegetables like apples or carrots which can deliver a one-two punch of cleaning teeth as well as stimulating saliva flow.

Water is an essential part of a healthy diet. It will keep you hydrated, promote healthy saliva flow, neutralize acids and rinse the teeth and mouth.