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Fillings, one of the most common dental treatments in the US, could soon be a thing of the past.
Scientists at the University of California appear to have found a way to rebuild teeth, rather than just filling them, Fox News reported.
Speaking to the news service, Professor Sally Marshall explained that the process involves re-mineralizing the teeth by re-growing dentin, the material which constitutes the inside of a tooth.
Decay happens when bacteria reaches dentin, which is normally when fillings are needed.
Now however, Professor Marshall and her research team believe they have found a way to re-grow the dentin in damaged teeth using a calcium-rich ion solution.
Fox spoke to Dr Andrea Ubhi, a dentist in Yorkshire, England, about the new technique. "It is possible that one day dentistry will be so preventative, decay will be caught in its early stages, and these re-mineralization techniques will repair the damage," she said.
However, Dr Ubhi noted that for the process to be effective, patients would have to see their dentists very regularly in order to detect problem areas, which may not be feasible for everyone.
Soft drinks are one of the main causes of tooth decay in the US, as they wear down the tooth's enamel, allowing bacteria to reach the dentin level.
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