A group of researchers at Sydney University in Australia found that prevention care is more effective in dealing with decay and cavities than traditional drilling and filling methods. Since many people are afraid of these methods, they usually let their teeth get in a really bad shape before paying a visit to a dentist.
The new study also found that tooth decay evolves slowly enough to allow dentists apply gentler techniques to deal with it than the conventional drill and fill approach. This is why prevention measures such as treatments with high concentration fluoride solutions, monitoring, and training on how to properly brush teeth reduced the need of using filling by up to 80 percent.
Researchers hope that the new findings may help patients that are afraid of dentists and their drilling methods to pay them a visit before their tooth decay turns into cavities.
Study authors also found that fillings are often unnecessary. Because many doctors we trained to believe that tooth decay erodes really quickly the tooth’s outer layer also known as enamel, they often rush to drill into it and use fillings for the cavity.
Study investigators noted that 50 year worth of studies had shown that tooth decay evolves less rapidly than previously thought. It needs between four and eight years to penetrate the enamel and reach the tooth’s softer layer.
Wendell Evans, an associate professor at Sydney University argued that fillings should only be used when the cavities are ‘evident.’
In their study, researchers monitored 1,000 patients that were treated in 22 dental offices. While half of study participants were treated with drill and fill methods, the rest underwent preventive care when their decay didn’t produce any cavities.
In seven years’ time, patients that underwent preventive care saw their need for fillings drop by 30 to 50 percent compared with other patients.
The even better news is that patients who were more prone to develop tooth decay and needed at least two fillings a year saw the need for fillings reduced by 80 percent during the same period.
Study authors recommend medical schools to introduce prevention as a separate area of specialization for future dentists. The no-drill method may encourage patients to visit their dentists before damage to their teeth is irreversible.
The findings were published Dec. 7 in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.
Image Source: Pixabay
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