According to the American Dental Association, at least one in five Americans has one untreated cavity or more. These can lead to unpleasant breath, issues with tooth rot, and even a loss of the affected teeth.
You can find out if you have cavities during a dental checkup, where you’ll get your teeth checked for soft spots or have X-rays done. A well-established cavity will have toothaches, especially after eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold.
Thankfully, tooth repair technology and treatments are ever advancing, and drills and other unpleasant treatments might just be a thing of the past. This can make the process of getting these cavities treated and filled much easier and even pain-free.
These advanced treatments are relatively new and still in the developing stages. Just this last February, researchers at the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham School of Dentistry developed a new technique that could replace the traditional methods of cavity treatment and filling. The new treatment, called resin infiltration, was being tested in clinical trials at that time.
The treatment is already FDA-approved and is commercially available in most places, but it is still mainly used in clinical trials in the U.S. More than 150 patients are currently undergoing the trials at UAB.
The treatment is applied in the small space between a patients teeth as a way to treat minor dental cavities. This comes after the dentist cleans the cavity with a gel, which prepares the surfaces to accept the resin product. It is then applied through the use of a plastic, perforated sheet that is pushed between the affected teeth.
A dental curing light is then used to cure the resin. And the best part is that the procedure is pain-free and requires no anesthesia.
Nathaniel Lawson, D.M.D., School of Dentistry Division Director of Biomaterials says, “Since this is a no-shot and no-drill treatment, it is popular with patients. And since no tooth is removed, it is a very conservative procedure.”
As the procedure is not yet widely practiced, it will be some time before your local dentists will start performing it. Until then, the traditional method of cavity treatment is still the most popular and available on the market.