Fear of the dentist? This therapy makes drills and fillings superfluous!

This text complies with the requirements of medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by physicians.

Is it possible to go to the dentist without a drill?

There are many people who are afraid of going to the dentist because he has to use the drill for them. However, a fear of the dentist due to holes in the teeth and the need to drill holes further exacerbates the situation. If the teeth are not treated, holes and caries will continue to widen. Australian researchers have now discovered that the use of the drill is often not really necessary when a different dental treatment strategy is followed.

A seven-year study by the University of Sydney found that certain “no drill” care techniques often make the traditional “fill and drill” approach superfluous. In other words: In many cases of caries, fillings are not absolutely necessary. “Fill and Drill” is the approach that has been used in dentistry for decades. The results of the current study were published in the English-language journal “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology”.

Toothaches are often due to holes and caries. Up to now, the dentist has usually used a drill in such cases. However, there also seem to be other effective alternatives to dental treatment. (Picture: New Africa/fotolia.com)

Rethinking required in the treatment of caries

It is not absolutely necessary that patients get fillings, because in many cases of caries these are not really necessary, explain the authors of the study. The research signals the urgent need for a major shift in the way caries is treated by dentists. The study shows that a preventive approach has great advantages over current practice. Caries is not a rapidly progressing phenomenon, as dentists have long assumed, the researchers continue to report. Since dentists used to think that decay progressed quickly, the usual practice was to detect tooth decay quickly and then remove it. This was to prevent holes from forming in the tooth surface, which then had to be filled with a filling. But the decay is not always progressive and even if it is, the decay is slower than the dentist thought.

How long does the decay of a tooth last?

It takes an average of four to eight years for the decay from the outer layer (enamel) of the tooth to progress to the inner layer (dentin), reports the research team. This is enough time to recognize and treat the decay of the teeth before a cavity is created and a filling is required. The researchers developed a series of protocols called Caries Management System (CMS). This system can stop, reverse and prevent tooth decay long before toothaches occur and the drill becomes necessary.

CMS treatment uses fluoride varnish

By assessing the risk of decay, interpreting dental radiographs and risk specific monitoring, signs of early decay, where no cavities (holes) have yet formed, are detected and treated with a highly concentrated fluoride varnish rather than using invasive agents such as drills. The risk of decay in patients receiving CMS was reduced by 30 to 50 percent.

This avoids up to 50 percent of all holes in the teeth.

CMS can stop and even reverse the early decay of teeth, drastically reducing the need for drilling and filling. Drill bits and fillings should only be used when an actual hole in the tooth is visible, the authors say. However, patient commitment is also required for CMS to function optimally. They need to pay special attention to their dental hygiene and to brush and care for their teeth adequately. It is also important that they limit the consumption of snacks and drinks that contain a lot of sugar. When people follow these rules, they help make the system work. This way, up to 50 percent of holes and drill holes can be avoided. (as)

Important note: This article contains general information only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.

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