A new painless cavity drill is set to hit dentists’ surgeries in two years, scientists from University of Missouri and the technology company Nanova announced.
The hi-tech “plasma brush” can hollow out rotten teeth in just 30 seconds, with only a slight cooling sensation for the patient.
The new device uses chemical reactions to disinfect cavities before operations, and forms a bond on the tooth which is much stronger than current techniques.
This means that fillings will much last longer than before, a huge boost for dentists and patients as currently many stay in place for just a few years.
Scientists from the University of Missouri, which has pioneered the research along with medical technology company Nanova, are confident that the new device marks a huge breakthrough in dental practice.
“Our studies indicate that fillings are 60 percent stronger with the plasma brush,” said engineering professor Hao Li.
Clinical trials are about to begin and are expected to show the uses of the plasma brush, according to researcher Qingsong Yu.
Qingsong Yu said: “There have been no side effects reported during the lab trials, and we expect the human trials to help us improve the prototype.”
If the trials are successful, the brush could revolutionize one of the most important areas of dentistry.
The scientists claim that 75% of all dental procedures involve fillings, and billions of pounds are spent on the minor operations each year.
Despite how common fillings are, they still fill many with dread – not least because of the pain involved in drilling in to a rotten tooth.
If all goes to plan, the pain will end in late 2013, when the plasma brush should be made available to dentists for the first time.