2 Dental Treatments That May Replace Cavity Fillings Some Day

Posted on: 29 September 2015

Most people develop at least a cavity or two in their lifetimes, and many people get them very frequently. The only treatment for cavities available for centuries has been cavity fillings of some nature. While filling materials have progressed, no procedure has ever replaced fillings entirely. Now, there are two treatments in the works that may some day replace the cavity filling, and one may be available relatively soon.  

1. Electrically Assisted Enhanced Cavity Remineralization

Wouldn't it be great if your teeth could repair themselves just like other parts of your body can heal from injury? Well, it seems they can, but they need a little help. A new procedure called electrically assisted enhanced cavity remineralization gives them the help they need in the form of a small electrical jolt that triggers teeth to actually repair themselves.

While the name of this procedure may be long, the treatment only takes seconds. To perform it, your dentist will use a small hand-held device to send a very low-level electrical current into the tooth that is beginning to develop a cavity, and the current triggers your tooth to send minerals to the developing cavity. The minerals actually refill the cavity with no artificial tooth filling material required.

The only caveat with this procedure is that a cavity has to be caught when it is still very tiny for it to work. However, with today's technology, dentists can detect cavities that the human eye cannot even see yet. This means that with twice-yearly checkups, most cavities can be caught early enough to use this device on before they become too large to remineralize.

2. Silica Nanoparticle Tooth Repair

Silica is a natural element of the earth, and it is often derived from quartz. It can be broken down into tiny particles of sub-micron size. Dental researchers have found that tiny silica particles can enter the tubules of teeth, which are microscopic channels that run from the surface of a tooth all the way to the pulp. Since silica is porous, they can be soaked with substances that can repair teeth and bring the substances along with them.

The first project they are working on is using this discovery to help treat tooth sensitivity. However, they are also working on using these particles for general tooth repair, as sending minerals into teeth using the particles, such as calcium, could help rebuild cavity-damaged enamel and even protect teeth from future cavities by sending antibacterial agents right into them.

These two new cavity treatments may soon make traditional cavity fillings a thing of the past. Preventing cavities by caring for your teeth properly at home and visiting a dentist (such as one from Silverado Family Dental) twice-yearly will still be important, because cavities must be caught very early for these new methods to be successful.