A “No-drill” Approach to Tooth Fillings

New research may lead the way to a shift in the way dentists have been treating tooth decay, suggesting a “no-drill” approach rather than traditional fillings at the smallest sign of tooth decay.

An Australian team’s seven-year study found that the need for fillings fell 30 to 50 percent if patients used preventive care after the first sign of tooth decay.

Researchers found that tooth decay does not always progress, and that if it progresses, it does so more slowly (an average of four to eight years) than widely believed. This leaves plenty of time for the decay to be detected and treated before it becomes a cavity and requires a filling.

A preventive, “no-drill” approach could include:

  • application of high-concentration fluoride varnish to the site of early tooth decay
  • attention to home tooth-brushing skills
  • no between-meals snacks or drinks with added sugar
  • regular monitoring

The no-drill approach is already being used in the U.S. for children identified as high-caries [cavity] risk. These patients are treated with fluoride varnishes, dietary modification, and therapeutic dental materials that have the capacity to reverse cavities without placing fillings.

In addition, this past April the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved SDF (sodium diamine fluoride), a compound that can reverse or stop “significant” cavities without the need for drilling.

If you are looking for a dentist in the Troy and Birmingham area who utilizes the latest dental techniques and technology, be sure to check out Dr. Douglas Angell. Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

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