It's no more effective than sealing the tooth or preventing decay through a low-sugar diet, a new study of 1,140 children with tooth decay has discovered.
More than 40 percent of children suffered further toothache, abscesses and decay afterwards, irrespective of the treatment they had, say researchers from the University of Dundee. Prevention through healthier diets is the best approach, especially for children.
The children, aged between three and seven, randomly received one of three treatments for tooth decay: the preventative approach, which avoided fillings but instead tried to reduce further decay by reducing sugar intake and twice-daily brushing, the standard 'drill and fill' and the minimally-invasive approach where the decay was sealed under a metal crown and a low-sugar diet was recommended.
The study showed that current 'drill and fill' practise is not the best approach, even though it's the one most commonly used by dentists. "The best way to manage tooth decay is not by drilling it out or sealing it in—it's by preventing it in the first place," said lead researcher Nicola Innes.