Conventional fillings could be a thing of the past in as little as three years if new technology developed at King’s College lives up to its potential.
The technology uses a technique called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER) to reverse caries lesions and encourage the regeneration of tooth structure.
The breakthrough was lead by Professor Nigel Pitts and Dr Chris Longbottom, and will be taken to market by a company formed specifically for the purpose.
The company – Reminova Ltd – is the first spin-out from the King’s College London Dental Innovation and Translation Centre that launched in January 2013. It is currently seeking private investment to develop the device.
The EAER technique accelerates the natural process of tooth remineralisation to effectively encourage to rebuild themselves.
The two-step procedure first prepares the damaged part of the enamel outer layer of the tooth, then uses a tiny electric current to ‘push’ minerals into the tooth to repair the damaged site. The defect is remineralised in a painless process that requires no drills, no injections and no filling materials.
Professor Pitts said: ‘The way we treat teeth today is not ideal – when we repair a tooth by putting in a filling, that tooth enters a cycle of drilling and re-filling as, ultimately, each “repair” fails.
‘Not only is our device kinder to the patient and better for their teeth, but it’s expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments. Along with fighting tooth decay, our device can also be used to whiten teeth.’