Forever solving dental caries (tooth decay)

Synopsis

Teeth are among the most long-lasting features of mammal species. Yet we are only organic species, and no matter how hard we try to physically evolve, diseases where bacterial processes damage hard teeth structures are inevitable. Without modifications that is. One of them is basic dental hygiene, but frequency requirements make good dental hygiene out of reach for the biggest part of population of this world. This idea introduces another modification, much more permanent and long-lasting, that will be able to prevent dental caries for many years after initial treatment.

Dental Explorer

Dental Explorer

Introduction

I’ve had braces for over ten years now. Not the kind that sticks out in adolescent high schoolers and sexy girls, but long-term ones attached to the back side of my teeth. They are invisible to the world, and the only additional service they provide, besides keeping my teeth in perfect order, is occasional playtime for my tongue. Meaning they don’t cause any major discomfort anymore. The stainless steel with nickel titanium is a sturdy material, allowing something like 25 American Wire Gauge to hold for decades at a time. But what I’ve noticed is that even if the lifespan of metal is limited to a decade or so before it is destroyed and needs to be replaced, the cured cement that holds the braces seem to go on forever. Even if the adhesive would be able to withstand only ten years at a time, guaranteeing no tooth decay for ten years would be a major feat.

Proposal

My proposal is to allow for a treatment of teen in individuals with completed full permanent dentition (i.e. since the age of 21) with a thin layer of cured cement, which would be able to withstand at least a decade.

Benefit

This is definitely not a threat to dental practices, nor a replacement of basic dental hygiene in a normal environment. No cavities but bad smell is still a bad deal. But there are many special groups that would appreciate such treatment. Soldiers, explorers, miners, and many others, including 1.7 billion people still living in poverty (although, let’s not forget that before industrial revolution an absolute poverty has been the norm). Treating teeth ones is much more acceptable solution is environments that lack hygiene standards, where drinkable water is scarce, and therefore water for hygiene purposes almost nonexistent. “Do once – solve forever” approach has always been most appealing and effective.

Conclusion

Other groups don’t have to miss out on additional layer of armor. It is very feasible to maintain standard dental hygiene and have an extra protection, just in case. Everyone can benefit. The only looser would be even more loaded social security system, unless properly managed, since more people would live longer.

I imagine the day when I’ll be able to go to a dentist and not be afraid, at last. That day, the dentist will smile on their way to work.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed

3 Comments

  1. Alex Sloan
    04/12/2010 at 05:19 | Permalink

    The problem I see with this is that even ubiquitous micro-cracks will be enough to let some bacteria in, which together with expected material wear would mean that a very thin layer won’t have much effect, while any thick layers are probably ruled out because of volume restrictions and general problems with added weight…

  2. 16/12/2010 at 14:37 | Permalink

    I agree, Alex, there are some potential drawbacks. The biggest practical drawback would be the smell. If you don’t brush teeth for a week, you risk loosing your friends. If you don’t brush for a month, you risk loosing your partner. And if you don’t brush for a season, you’ll loose your job :)
    Regarding your comment: sure, but from 10+ years of experience, the layer doesn’t seem to wear off. And besides, enamel layer formed naturally can be as thick as 2.5 mm, which is impressively thick. Layer of cement in my case is never more than a fraction of millimeter.
    And when there is a crack, only a fraction of a tooth is exposed to the bacteria, while without any protective layer, the whole tooth is exposed.

    I think conclusive results could be attained by an experiment, so I’d need to do laboratory testing by finding orthodontist willing to experiment, who will cover my teeth in cement.

  3. Raly
    17/08/2011 at 22:41 | Permalink

    Don’t forget the genetically predisposed people! I’m twenty and I’ve been to dentists quite a lot, ever since I can remember. I’ve had at least 15 fillings in the last 5 years alone, no idea about the number overall. And trust me, I do brush my teeth 2-3 times a day, with the whole circling motion thing. It just runs in the family (bad enamel or idk).

    So I am quite depressed as if this goes on, I’m spendind quite a lot of money and time on this (and it hurts ofc), so I’m really looking for a more permanent solution. Even getting rid of my teeth altogether and having fake ones… but they told me you can still get cavities and they’re harder to reach, and it’s pretty bad altogether.

    If this works tell me about it! Sounds amazing, and even if it takes 10 years for it to become available, I’d still benefit from it.