Treating early tooth decay could become easier and less painful thanks to a new discovery by Japanese scientists.
Researchers in Japan have developed a new synthetic tooth enamel that can repair early tooth decay without the need for drillings and fillings.
The crystalline white paste can reconstruct enamel without removing the decayed area. It repairs small cavities and helps prevent new ones.
"We have shown that our synthetic material can reconstruct enamel without prior excavation," Kazue Yamagishi, of the FAP Dental Institute in Tokyo, said in a report in the science journal Nature on Wednesday.
Dentists usually treat cavities by removing the decayed area and filling the hole with a resin or metal alloy. But it is not ideal for small cavities because healthy tooth is also removed to make the filling stick.
The scientists tested the new paste on early decay in a lower premolar tooth. After examining the tooth with an electron microscope they found the paste integrated with the tooth's natural enamel.
But the researchers warned the paste should not come into contact with the gums because it could cause inflammation due to its high concentration of hydrogen peroxide.