This little plastic instrument could make the dentist's drill a thing of the past. Instead of that whiny drill grinding into your teeth, kicking up stinky tooth dust and making you cringe, the DMG Icon applies a spot of hydrochloric acid directly on the cavity. That etches away just the right amount of enamel to reach the area where the cavity is eating away at your tooth.
Once that chemical excavation is complete, the dentist uses a separate applicator to inject quick-hardening resinous goo into the resulting hole, and then with a short application of high-energy blue light, the stuff hardens so well that your tooth is as good as new.
The only downsides? This technology doesn't work on chewing surfaces yet — the company says a new version capable of that will be ready in a year — and it only works on early-stage cavities. Alas, those of you with toothless grins, black-hole cavities and meth mouth might still have to endure that infernal drilling. So far, Icon is only available in "select European countries," but I'm telling my techno-savvy dentist about it today.
UPDATE: Our dental expert tells us this product is actually available in the U.S., through dental distributor Sullivan-Schein and maybe others. But he says there are still a few bugs associated with the product:
- When you X-ray a tooth after using it, it still looks like there's a cavity present.
- You can't tell how deep the acid eats into the teeth. The decay could still be deeper than the stuff goes.
- If the decay is shallow, there are already easier, less invasive ways to fix it, such as applying fluoride.
- The product hasn't been studied enough (longitudinal studies are incomplete), and there's not enough information to use it yet.