The whine of the dentist’s drill may soon be silenced, as scientists claim to have found the secret of a “completely painless” filling by identifying a material that can repair decaying teeth within weeks.
The “filling without drilling” method, devised by a team at Leeds University’s Dental Institute in the UK, involves mimicking the conditions that promote the original growth of enamel.
Tooth enamel forms around protein molecules – and the scientists made their breakthrough by reproducing the natural protein in a liquid that can be painted on to a tooth.
Teeth start decaying when acids from mouth bacteria cause microscopic holes in enamel. But when the protein solution is applied to the tooth, it immediately soaks into these holes and forms a scaffold of protein where the enamel starts to regenerate.
Within weeks, the enamel layer is restored, claimed the researchers.
Photo by akeg.