‘No-Drill’ Dentistry Stops Tooth Decay
“It’s unnecessary for patients to have fillings because they’re not required in many cases of dental decay,” said Associate Professor Wendell Evans of the University of Sydney.
The results of the seven years study was published by the Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology who said: The need for fillings was reduced by 30 to 50 per cent through preventative oral care.
This research show a need to shift tooth decay is treatment. The study shows that a preventative approach has major benefits compared to current practice.
For a long time we believed that tooth decay was a rapidly progressive phenomenon. We thought Identifying early decay and remove it immediately will prevent a tooth surface from breaking up into cavities. After removing the decay, the affected tooth is then restored with a filling, a process that require ‘drilling and filling’.
“However, 50 years of research studies have shown that decay is not always progressive and develops more slowly, it will takes an average of four to eight years for decay to progress from the tooth’s outer layer (enamel) to the inner layer (dentine).
“That is plenty of time for the decay to be detected and treated before it becomes a cavity and requires a filling.”
Professor Wendell Evans and his team developed the Caries Management System (CMS) – a protocols which cover the assessment of decay risk, the interpretation of dental X-rays, and specific treatment of early decay (decay that is not yet a cavity).
The treatment ‘no-drill’ involves four aspects:
- Application of high concentration fluoride varnish by dentists to the sites of early decay
- Proper tooth brushing skills
- Restriction of snacks and beverages containing sugar
- Risk-specific monitoring
“A tooth should be only be drilled and filled where an actual hole-in-the-tooth (cavity) is already evident,” said Professor Evans.
The treatment was then tested in general dental practices in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), confirmed that after seven years, decay risk was substantially reduced among the treatment dental patients and their need for fillings was reduced by 30 to 50 percent compared to the control group.
“The reduced decay risk and reduced need for fillings was understandably welcomed by patients,” Professor Evans said. “However, patients play an important role in their treatment. This treatment will need a partnership between dentists and patients to be most successful.”