No More Fillings for Your Cavities? New Options Show Promise

Tooth decay, which can lead to cavities, is the most common dental disease worldwide. The traditional treatment for cavities has been fillings. However, fillings are not an ideal solution, as they often need to be replaced once or more during a person's lifetime.


In search of a better solution, researchers have identified novel solutions that may some day lead to the end of fillings:

  • A group in the UK has discovered that aspirin could offer an alternative solution to restoring a tooth affected by decay. Aspirin has been found to enhance the function of stem cells found in the teeth, helping a tooth repair itself by regenerating lost structure. Researchers found that treatment of the stem cells from teeth with low-dose aspirin significantly increased mineralization and the expression of genes responsible for forming dentine, the hard tooth structure that is usually damaged by decay.
  • A separate team of researchers working with mice has found that a specific chemical could encourage cells in the dental pulp to heal small holes. In this approach, a biodegradable sponge was soaked in the drug and then put inside the cavity. The study showed it led to complete, effective natural repair.
  • Yet another group believes electricity can be used to strengthen a tooth by forcing minerals into the layer of enamel.

These minerals, such as calcium and phosphate, naturally flow in and out of the tooth with the acid caused by bacteria, leaching out minerals. The researchers found that they could apply a mineral mixture and a small electric current to drive new  minerals into the tooth. They believe this approach can strengthen the tooth and reduce cavities.

While these approaches to reducing or eliminating cavities show promise, they are still several years away at best. If you are missing one or more teeth as the result of tooth decay, injury, or accident, the gold standard continues to be a dental implant provided by an AAID credentialed dentist. Find a credentialed implant dentist near you.

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