Good news for patients who are not comfortable with the dentist’s drill. A new study from the University of Sydney has revealed that dental caries, otherwise known as tooth decay, can be stopped, reversed and even prevented with no-drill dentistry. The seven-year study found that the need for dental fillings was cut by 30 to 50 per cent if patients used preventive oral care after the first sign of decay.
According to Professor Wendell Evans, the lead author of the study, Australian dentists must set aside the drill-and-fill approach and adopt a new way of inhibiting decay, which is through a preventative toolkit. He stated that patients don’t need fillings, as this treatment is not required in many cases of tooth decay. Professor Evans also added that the decay doesn’t always develop and often advances more slowly than was previously believed.
“For example, it 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”. On the other hand, he concluded that advanced cavities do require filling. “A tooth should only be drilled and filled where an actual hole in the tooth (cavity) is already evident”.
The No-Drill Dentistry Study
The study compared over 1000 patients at 22 different dental practices across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, including some locations with fluoridated water. 50% of the patients were treated with traditional methods, and the rest were treated using the Caries Management System (CMS), a method that was developed by Professor Evans and his team. “The CMS was first tested on high risk patients at Westmead Hospital with great success. It showed that early decay could be stopped and reversed and that the need for drilling and filling was reduced dramatically,” said Professor Evans.
The CMS is a set of protocols covering the assessment of decay risk, dental X-rays interpretation and specific treatment of early decay. In simple words, it’s a preventative regime used on teeth, where decay exists but has yet to develop to a cavity.
The New Approach
The Caries Management System management involves four aspects.
- Application of high-concentration fluoride by dentists on teeth showings early signs of decay.
- Advice on proper home tooth brushing skills
- Restriction of between-meal snacks and beverages that contain added sugar
- Monitoring according to level of dental decay.
Professor Evans said that cavity-prone patients, who require two or more fillings every year, saw an 80% reduction. Patients who have fear of drills or dental phobia can highly benefit from no-drill dentistry.
Furthermore, Professor Evans emphasizes that you as a patient, play a significant role in the success of the treatment. He urges that dentists and patients must work together for it to be most effective and successful.
Visit Your Sunshine Coast today!
For more information about our preventative care services and how it can help you prevent the development of different oral health diseases such as tooth decay and cavities, visit your dental care partners at Smiles Nambour. Our dentists and their entire team are dedicated to providing you with the personalized, quality dental care that you deserve. Our goal is to assist each patient in achieving and maintaining long-term dental health and a beautiful smile.