What if instead of having a dentist drill and fill your cavities, you could have your teeth painlessly heal themselves? A team of scientists says it has developed a technique that does precisely that, the Guardian reports. The process, called "Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralization," uses a tiny electric current to push minerals into the damaged part of the tooth. Teeth already repair themselves this way naturally, by drawing minerals from saliva and fluoride, the Washington Post explains. (A cavity essentially results when a tooth's enamel loses those minerals and the tooth begins to decay.) Researchers have long sought a way to speed the process.
"The way we treat teeth today is not ideal—when we repair a tooth by putting in a filling, that tooth enters a cycle of drilling and re-filling as, ultimately, each ‘repair’ fails," says one researcher at King's College London. The new method is "kinder to the patient and better for their teeth." EAER could be available at your local dentist within three years, and is expected to be at least as cost-effective as current treatments. (Elsewhere from the world of dentistry, soda may be just as bad as meth for your teeth.)