Most of us have heard that unique sound, braced ourselves, and tightened our hands and feet in anticipation. The drill that accompanies dental fillings for caries (cavities) has become synonymous with dental visits over the last few decades. People with tooth decay have wished for years that dentists could provide treatment without reaching for novocaine and a drill. These patients have renewed hope, thanks to a study from the University of Sydney, recently published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.
“In a seven-year study involving 1,000 patients at 22 dental practices, researchers at the University of Sydney compared people who received traditional “drill and fill” treatment with those who received a less aggressive preventive treatment that involves high concentration fluoride varnish and restricting sugary snacks and beverages between meals.
They found that for those in the second group the need for fillings declined by 30 to 50 percent. Among those at highest risk, who were getting as many as two fillings per year, the reduction was even greater — 80 percent.”
The approach applied by the researchers was centered on a four-step process:
1 – High-concentration fluoride varnish applied at the earliest onset of decay.
2 – Intense application of at-home dental habits.
3 – No added sugar between meals.
4 – Regular visits to the dentist for a cleaning and early diagnosis.
This study, at the very least, will most likely make dental teams re-evaluate how they can better treat minor decay, particularly at the onset of a problem. The most important aspect of the treatment plan is an early diagnosis, which requires routine visits to the dentist, including consistent sets of x-rays. However, while the no-drill dentistry treatment can work for early cavities, advanced cavities will still need to be drilled to ensure that the decay doesn’t reach deeper into the enamel and hit the root of the tooth.
If you have any questions about dental fillings or if you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.
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