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'Painless' dental cavity procedure regrows tooth enamel

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When a dentist says the word "cavity" a lot of people sweat thinking about painful injections and relentless drilling. But scientists in Britain have developed a new procedure dubbed EAER, or "Electrically Assisted Enhanced Remineralisation," that can repair a slightly decayed tooth before a deep cavity forms. The supposedly painless procedure involves cleaning (not drilling) the tooth of any signs of mild decay, then flushing it with minerals and stimulating it with an electric pulse. This pushes the minerals into the deepest part of the lesion and speeds up a naturally occurring process called "remineralization". This is where minerals in your saliva and some foods enter the tooth enamel and make it stronger.

Dr. Rebecca Moazzez from King's College London notes that getting a cavity and having it filled is a vicious cycle, because they're not made to last forever so it means a patient will always have to get it touched up and refilled, forever. The new procedure won't replace the effects of regular toothbrushing and cavity fillings, but by repairing slightly damaged teeth, this team of scientists may have found a painless way to stop cavities from maturing.

[Image credit: Shutterstock / Pojoslaw]

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