Laser gun to wipe out need for fillings

A revolutionary laser device that detects the early signs of tooth decay could end the need for fillings.

The hand-held machine, designed by scientists at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, uses a laser to create an image of a tooth’s mineral content and allows dentists to see if decay has started.

Patients whose teeth are found to have decay are given fluoride to repair their teeth before permanent damage sets in.

The £1000 machine is due to undergo clinical trials shortly and it is hoped that it will be used in trials in Scotland later this year.

Professor John Girkin, who developed the device, said: ‘It is known that teeth can heal themselves and remineralise if you spot the decay early enough.’

‘But this device can significantly reduce the number of fillings and have a dramatic effect on the state of the nation’s oral health.’

It will also make diagnosing tooth decay safer because patients will no longer be exposed to the low-level radiation emitted by X-rays.

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