Tooth Decay Can Be Stopped Without Drilling And Filling: Study

Posted: Dec 8 2015, 2:38am CST | by , Updated: Dec 8 2015, 8:32pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Tooth Decay can be Stopped without Drilling and Filling: Study
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Australian researchers have develeped CMS treament for early decay and this preventive approach has more benefits than a traditional dental filling.

Australian researchers have found that tooth decay can be stopped or prevented without using the traditional ‘fill and drill’ approach, which has been quite common in dental care for decades.

The study, which comprises seven years of research findings, suggests that fillings reduced to 30 to 50 percent ever since it was taken over by preventive approach. Researchers suggest that in many cases it’s absolutely unnecessary to recommend dental filling. Preventive approach works better most of the time.

“For a long time it was believed that tooth decay was a rapidly progressive phenomenon and the best way to manage it was to identify early decay and remove it immediately in order to prevent a tooth surface from breaking up into cavities. After removing the decay, the affected tooth is then restored with a filling material - this process is sometimes referred to as ‘drilling and filling,” said Wendell Evan, associate professor at University of Sydney and lead author of the study. 

“However, 50 years of research studies have shown that decay is not always progressive and develops 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.”

To cope with early decay, Evans and his colleagues have developed a treatment called Caries Management System (CMS), which involves four aspects:


  • Using fluoride if decay risk assessed
  • Improving tooth brushing skills  
  • Creating diet plans with the focus of limiting the use of snack food and added sugar beverages
  • Risk-specific monitoring 


The CMS treatment was tested on high risk patients at Westmead Hospital and the results were very promising. 

“It showed that early decay could be stopped and reversed and that the need of drilling and filling was reduced dramatically. A tooth should only be drilled and filled where an actual-hole-in –the –tooth (cavity) is already evident.” Professor Evans said.

“This research signals for a major shift in the way tooth decay is managed by dentists…Our study shows that a preventive approach has major benefits compared to current practice.”

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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