We used to open our mouths and let our friends count the fillings because we all had cavities. But today, the American Dental Association says thanks to fluoride and good dental hygiene, half of all American children under the age of 12 have never had a cavity.
So, for the little ones who don't know treating a cavity means drilling out the decayed portion of the tooth, but even that's changing now, because some dentists are using a laser instead. It's called the Waterlase, a new option in removing tooth decay without the noise or heat vibration of a regular drill. And as a result, you don't even need a shot to numb the patient.
"The water particles get energized with the laser. That's called hydrokinetic energy, and that's what basically cuts. 98% of the cases you can avoid the needle or the novacaine. You don't have to use the drill. One of the big benefits of it is that you can do cavities on different sites of the mouth, you can do them all in one visit since you're not using the novacaine," says Yudah Ari Benmergui, D.D.S.
But the laser is not for everyone. It only works on new decay. It can't be used with metal so this would not be an option if you're replacing a silver filling. The equipment is very expensive, so it's not widely available yet. We'll keep you posted if it comes to Lubbock.