Could this mean an end to the dreaded drill? 23



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Good news for anyone who gets giddy at the words “you need a filling”, but not such great news for anyone who’s ever had a cavity filled (which is most likely all of us).

Senior dentists have warned that fillings may actually cause more harm than good, and have called on colleagues to carefully consider this kind of intervention.

A study published in the Journal of Dentistry found that patients who had cavities filled were far more likely to require fillings in the adjacent teeth.

According to the findings, six out of 10 teeth next to a filling had also decayed after a five-year period, and almost 30 per cent of these needed filling.

Simen Kopperud, of the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials in Oslo, Norway, who led the study, said: “It is highly possible that the intervention by the dentist causes a problem in adjacent teeth.”

It’s believed that the drilling and filling may cause trauma to the other teeth and gums, making them more likely to become infected and decay.

However, the authors stress that while dentists “need to be aware of the risks” and strive for minimal intervention, for now fillings are the only treatment available for cavities.

“Fillings are not an ideal solution but at the moment it’s the best solution we have,” said Dr Kopperud. He has urged fellow dentists to stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and methods to reduce the damage caused by fillings.

So if you’ve had a filling recently, or have one coming up, be vigilant about taking care of your teeth and gums, especially those close to the site of the cavity.

Are you afraid of the dentist or does it not bother you? Will you be questioning your dentist next time they recommend a filling?





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  1. I was afraid of the Dentist until I started going to my present Dentist. He is great. As a child the Dentist I went to apparently did not believe in numbing before drilling. I can remember sitting gripping the handles of the chair with tears running down my face. I told my present Dentist about this and he was shocked. We lived in a small country town so no other Dentist to go to. Him or nothing.

  2. I have just finished paying a huge dental bill but it was worth it. A medication I was on when I was younger was found to be the culprit that caused my gums to shrink and my teeth to fall out, I am now on a different one. There was not enough gum left on the bottom to hold a plate, I have been having dental work done for 6 months to have implants put in and I now have a perfect bottom set. I am now saving up for the top to be done it will take a few years,

    5 REPLY
    • I am in exactly the same situation Elizabeth. I would also be interested to know how much it cost. My gums shrunk due to medication that I should not have been taking for so long and look terrible. Were they able to increase the size of your gums, even a little bit?

    • It depends on the extent of the shrinkage Paul, but the implants should stop any further shrinking as new gum can form around the posts

    • I know its a lot of money but I can now eat without difficulty and I don’t have a whistle when I talk, or be embarrassed when the plate falls out mid sentence

      1 REPLY
      • Hi Elizabeth and everyone else posting. In May this year I had three root canals, 2 wisdom teeth removed and 25 crowns – all for just over US$12,000. Happy with the results. The work was done in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – Westcoast International Dental Clinic. There are even cheaper places than this in Vietnam, although I did a fair bit of research and spoke with other satisfied customers before proceeding. My teeth and gums were sent on a downward spiral at the age of 12 via a Government subsidised dental hospital. In Australia I was quoted between $55,000 and $75,000.

  3. I do know that the drill has often bumped up against other teeth and that new problems seem to crop up. Makes you think! I always question the need for a filling anyway 😉

  4. they used to call mechanics gold fingered we forgot to add dentists , there’s gold in them thar fillings and i dont mean the stuff they use to fill em. and then theres the issue of false teeth getting decent teeth in the public system is impossible specially implants are out of the question specially when your left 4 years with rotten teeth

  5. or it might be that some people have poor dental hygiene and that is why they had to have a filling in the first place so it stands to reason they wont look after the adjacent teeth …would be interesting to study that aspect in a trial>>If you look after your teeth then unless you have some medical reason, then you should never need to have a filling.. You only need to brush the teeth up want to keep lol

    1 REPLY
    • That’s not true…my teeth are very chalky and have needed fillings and yes they have damaged the teeth adjacent…as for hygiene…you will never find anyone with better dental hygiene than me…so it really has a lot to do with the kind of teeth you were blessed with or not…..

  6. What is the alternate to fillings? Are cavities allowed to further rot?

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