Painless Plasma Jets Could Replace Dental Drills

By Allison Bond | February 5, 2010 3:21 pm

plasma-drill-100204-02This could mean an end to fear and loathing at the dentist’s office. A new (allegedly) painless blowtorch-like device is being developed that uses a thin beam of plasma could kill oral bacteria in cavities. A plasma is an ionized gas—one in which some of the electrons are stripped away from their atoms.

The plasma kept the dentin, the fibrous bonelike material that makes up most of a tooth under the outer enamel layer, intact, while reducing bacteria 10,000-fold.  This means that plasma jets could be used to wipe out the tooth-decaying bacteria in cavities–a procedure that normally requires the use of a painful dental drill to grind away the infected portion of tooth.

The plasma being used is a “cool” plasma with a temperature of just 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When it fires, it charges the oxygen gas around it, which creates reactive molecules that break down and destroy the bacteria’s cell walls, killing them in the process.

But here’s the bad news: If you have a gnawing cavity right now, there’s no point putting off a visit to the dentist. Researchers say it will take three to five years for the new plasma drill to make it to the dentist’s office.

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Image: Stefan Rupf

  • Kevin

    Oh, I can’t wait for the home model!

  • chicago dentists

    We can dream abut something like this here only, sad but true.

  • dentist redondo beach

    Hey, this is really great that painless plasma jet can replace the old scary dental drills. Now i guess i can get my tooth problem solved easily without pain. Thanks for the information.

  • Douglas Penland

    This is great news for all of us, especially for me and those who visit dental clinics almost everyday to get their teeth fixed. I have been visiting my dentist in Murfreesboro (TN) for the last three years. I can still remember my first encounter with dental drills when my dentist put sealants on my lower back teeth. I hated the sound of it. So now I am hoping these painless jets would replace the drills. Thanks for this info. My dentist hasn’t told me about this yet.

  • Riverside Dental

    This is great. Wish this tool exist when I first went for dental work. The thought of a drill being inserted into my mouth really makes me scared.

  • dentist redondo beach

    This is really great news that painless plasma jet replace the old scary dental drills.Now my teeth problem get solved easily without any pain.


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