Congratulations to Rebecca Smith of The Daily Telegraph for this weeks grossly inflated claims. Her article “Toothbrush and the drill could soon be history”sticks to the strict code of making something out of nothing that all science writers seem to do now. Her use of the word “could” is oustanding using it 4 times in the first few paragraphs to show us what our future might be like.
Sadly the word “could” can be inserted in to almost any sentence to make what ever claim you feel like with impunity. She is of course correct the dentists drill could soon be redundant but there is absolutely no reason to believe this to be the case from her article. The piece relates to remineralisation techniques and a photo activated disinfection system both of which are of use in minimally invasive procedures when treating minor cavities. It is lovely to think that these will change our approaches in years to come and I am very hopeful that a probiotic approach using xylitol and calcium phospate gels will help prevent early cavities but none of these systems will remove the need for conventional management of the tens of millions of already filled teeth. Clearly a dental drill will be needed for several decades to manage these teeth.
The good news is that the conventional management of these teeth can be done in a pain free, comfortable procedure that, when combined with existing disinfection techniques and traditional oral hygiene instruction can provide very predictable results. All new developments that help with this are warmly welcomed but talk of replacement of drills and tooth brushes is wildly off the mark. Although I could be wrong I suppose.