Perhaps one of the most common mental images the hesitant dental patient has about their dentist is a whirring drill, slowly and terrifyingly approaching their mouth – ready to do it’s dirty work.
Unfortunately, dental drills tend to get a bad rep. Of course, while getting your teeth drilled to fix a cavity or do some dental restoration work is never the most pleasant experience – dental drills have come an incredibly long way since the time they were first used nearly 1,000 years ago by primitive cultures like the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. Back then, the drills were made of stone and were much, much, much less advanced (naturally). In those times, the drills were twisted (painfully) around the tooth until a hole could be made. This generally took a long time, and – unfortunately – local anesthetic wasn’t a thing. Today, drills are constantly being improved upon, and they’ve even been made to be much quieter, much cleaner, and much faster.
Did you know drills are also becoming less necessary?
On top of this, dental drills also might be starting to see their eventual demise. According to Science Alert, an Australian Study 7 years in the making has suggested that “no drill” dental care techniques could start replacing the drill-centric treatments that so many patients dread.
While these studies haven’t yet started to change the way dentists treat most patients, they are shedding light on the possibility that tooth decay is “fast moving” and instead that, while still progressive, it takes up to a few years for decay to actually make its way through your enamel – which could allow it to be stopped and reversed before ever requiring the intervention of a drill.
By assessing the risk of decay and carefully interpreting X-rays, these studies show that spotting the earliest signs of decay could potentially provide dentists with the opportunity to instead apply special concentrations (including fluoride) to stop decay in its tracks and prevent the need for a more invasive treatment.
However, without an engaged patient that’s willing to really buckle down and improve their dental hygiene habits – these treatments will hardly be effective. So, despite the fact that these sorts of treatments are still in their infancy – our dentists in the Anaheim area recommend that our patients get on board with better oral hygiene routines now — at the very least, if you are susceptible to cavities – it could save you from the drill in the future.