Will Dental Drills Soon Be a Thing of the Past?
Most patients agree that the drill is one of the most dreaded parts of any dental visit. New technology could help ease dental anxiety by eliminating the need for a drill in the first place.
Optics underlie the cutting-edge technology. Based on Raman spectroscopy, the device would allow practitioners to spot bacteria on teeth, as bacteria scatter light rays in a different way from healthy teeth
Seeing “trouble spots” on patients’ teeth would help dentists treat problems before they become so serious as to require drilling. (Remember what they say about prevention being the best medicine?)
A preliminary study (at London’s King College) has shown significant promise, and the results were presented at Microscience 2008. Though human trials have not yet begun, the doctors behind the project hope to have the technology ready for use by dental practices within five years.