Plasma brush could replace dental drill for painless cavity fillings



Are you afraid to go to the dentist? If the sound of that dentist’s drill makes you nervous, things are looking less painful for the future.

Researchers at the University of Missouri are in the process of developing a tool that will take much of the pain out of getting a cavity filled. Mail Online reported that a hi-tech “plasma brush” uses chemical reactions to disinfect a patient’s cavity before a procedure, and cleans out the tooth in just about 30 seconds. Fillings are expected to last much longer than in the past.

University of Missouri professor Qingsong Yu said no side effects were reported during lab trials, and human trials should help improve the prototype.

According to Popular Science, the plasma brush is a tool dentists hope to use to break up plaque; and it will create more surface area where the filling can stick.

The University of Tennessee-Memphis plans to begin human clinical trials early next year in order to get the plasma brush on the market. According to MU News Bureau, if the product is cleared by the FDA, researchers believe the plasma brush may become available to dentists by the end of 2013.

Researchers said Americans spend around 450 billion a year on tooth fillings, and filling cavities is estimated to take in about 75 percent of a dentist’s work. source