This Could Make Treating Cavities (Almost) Painless

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Cavity_slideIllustrated By Ammiel Mendoza.
Not to brag or anything, but I've been lucky enough to go my whole life without a cavity. Whether because of regular brushing (and flossing — in the week leading up to my dentist visit, that is) or my mother's fascist ban on soda (thanks, Mom!), I've been exempt from that very specific circle of hell that is getting poked in the mouth with a drill.

Well, it looks like that particular breed of unpleasantness may soon be extinct. Scientists at Reminova Ltd. (an offshoot of Kings College London) have pioneered a new way to treat cavities — and it just happens to be completely drill-less and pain-free.

As many a dentist would tell you, your mouth is constantly (if slowly) working to regenerate your tooth enamel with calcium and phosphate, which occur naturally in your saliva. New technology, called "electrically accelerated and enhanced remineralization," is essentially a gentle electric current that jump-starts this enamel-healing process by "pushing" minerals to the site of decay.

Currently, dentists treat cavities by drilling deeper into the tooth and sealing the pit with a synthetic filling, which often has to be periodically replaced over the years. By contrast, this new method actually rebuilds your tooth and enamel, bit by bit — essentially reversing damage done. Representatives from Reminova say that in addition to being totally painless, the procedure would potentially be even cheaper than getting a filling today, and it could also be used to whiten your teeth.

Luckily, we won't have to wait too long for this dental boon; the technology is expected to hit the market in the next three years. Imagine: A world where going to the dentist doesn't make you want to stab yourself in the eye. (LA Times)