Avoid The Dental Drill!

We’re back after a brief blog break for the summer. No child enjoys the dentist and the dental drill in particular elicits unease amongst even the most calm young patients. Never mind that having a cavity filled isn’t exactly cheap (at least $100). An article in today’s New York Times highlights a cost effective, painless way to apply a chemical coating to cavities to prevent further tooth decay and also avoid the pain of a dental drill. Cavities have been filled by placing a coating over the part of the tooth that has rotted. The infamous dental drill is required to cut away the rotten material. A newly developed form of flouride (silver diamine flouride) can be painted onto a cavity to stop the cavity from further rotting. No painful numbing shots, no dental drills, and only $25. The child then loses the baby tooth and has avoided costly and uncomfortable drill-based cavity fills. Currently, few dentists know about the treatment and use it in their practices. What are obstacles to adopting a new treatment? Why are scientists not researching treatments such as this to make painful and uncomfortable processes easier for youngsters?