A new gel that dissolves tooth decay could soon be a viable alternative to the dreaded dentist’s drill, if new scientific research is to be believed; the gel, which is made from a compound of fruits and leaves from the papaya tree, softens decayed minerals so that they can be easily scraped away and replaced with filler material. In some cases, patients won’t even need a local anaesthetic for the treatment.
The gel has been undergoing clinical trials in Brazil and researchers are hopeful that it could have applications with other areas of dental treatment, in particular with treating children who might be nervous about the dentist’s drill. Hugh Devlin, professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Manchester commented on the research, saying ‘This is an interesting material, and may be useful treating young children. However, we still need more research before this type of gel can be adopted into mainstream dentistry.’
The gel is currently being tested on twenty patients, using a placebo gel alongside it, to compare the effects. Early results have been positive and the team hope to release it onto the market within the next three years, providing the human trials are successful long-term. Hugh added that ‘Generally, we need more spending on research into restorative dentistry to produce similar developments in this country.’