22 April 2010

Varnish to replace the dentist's drill

The results of an extensive study indicate that, in the future, it will often suffice for dentists to varnish teeth instead of drilling holes. The study, SEAL-DK, has been carried out by a number of municipal dental services in collaboration with the School of Dentistry at the University of Copenhagen.

The study comprises 518 children between the ages of 6 and 17 with dental caries, which under normal circumstances would require drilling. 88% of the cavities, which were treated with varnish as part of the study, are holding up to the treatment after two years. Study participants will be monitored for a further three years.

A quantum leap for dental health

"If the results hold up, it will not only mean that many people with caries will be able to avoid drills and anaesthesia. They will also avoid having replaced non-functioning fillings, which is a procedure that weakens the tooth every time." says Project Manager, Associate Professor, DDS, Dr Odont, Vibeke Qvist from the Department of Odontology, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen.

- "Instead, the dentist stops the deterioration process, by sealing off the caries attack, and the damaged tissue underneath the varnish is afforded the possibility to heal. SEAL-DK is a breakaway from the conventional types of treatment, and could in the long run become a quantum leap for dental health. SEAL-DK is an example of a collaborative effort between the municipal dental services and the School of Dentistry, which is an inspiration for both them and us - and beneficial to dental health," Dr Qvist adds.

About the project

The project is a research and quality development project carried out by the municipal dental services in Allerød, Gentofte, Helsingør, Herlev, Hillerød, Høje-Taastrup, Hørsholm, Lyngby-Taarbæk and North Funen together with the School of Dentistry, University of Copenhagen. The project members met on 20 April to discuss, among other details, how the new treatment strategy should be implemented.