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Death knell for the dentist's drill?


January 20, 2010

Homepage for DMG's Icon cavity infiltration system

Homepage for DMG's Icon cavity infiltration system

With the possible exception of those singing, mounted fish, there is likely no piece of technology quite so universally hated as the dental drill. Well, a new invention may soon make that device obsolete - in many situations, at least. When it comes to the treatment of cavities, the current approach is to treat small ones with fluoride therapy, then wait for anything larger to reach the stage where it needs to be drilled. Now, dental technology company DMG is offering a cavity infiltration system called Icon, that allows dentists to treat no-longer-small cavities before drilling becomes necessary.

The whole procedure takes only 15 minutes. The tooth is first isolated with a rubber dam, and treated with a gel that etches the enamel and opens up the pores of the cavity. Next the tooth is rinsed, dried with ethanol and air, the Icon infiltrant resin is applied, and then light-cured. The application of a second layer of infiltrant is recommended. Since the resin takes on the color of the surrounding enamel, it doesn’t stand out visually. The procedure is said to be painless, and doesn’t involve the removal of healthy tooth structure.

The system was developed in cooperation with Germany’s University of Kiel, and the Charité in Berlin. “Icon represents a new category of dental products,” says Tim Haberstumpf, DMG America Director of Marketing. “It is the first product to bridge the gap between prevention and caries [cavity] restoration.”

Via Popular Science

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

LOL @ first sentence...

I happen to LOVE my \"Big Mouth Billy Bass\" thank you very much. His rendition of \"Don\'t Worry, Be Happy\" always brings a smile... Especially when the battery is low... Hahaha!


Yes, but \"is it safe\"?

David Fromant

Yes, but does it come in blue? Safe? Good question, stick with the lead and mercury David.

Craig Jennings

What happens to the decayed material in the cavity, which is normally drilled out? Also, could you get another \'cavity\' in the same tooth at a later date? By the way, Craig, I don\'t think mercury amalgam contains lead as well. Years ago, when I was a small boy, my dentist gave me some mercury in a glass tube, to play with! I remember rubbing it on a coin with my bare finger till it looked silver plated.This is a true story. I now know better!


My dentist uses laser dentistry for cavity drilling. Unfortunately, laser dentistry doesn\'t work too well if you already have a filling in the tooth that they need to fill, so they have to use the regular drill for that. I wonder if this is any different?


Windy did I say it did? Would you prefer lead or mercury? Oh... might get some of both but not in the same hole. Therefore my \"and\" stands.

Craig Jennings

Amazing, congratulations to these incredible people who work so hard in the service of mankind with so little reward in comparison to what they have developed and given to us. Wayne


@Craig, if you are worried about the amount of mercury in amalgam, the amount you are exposed to is about the same amount you get from eating a piece of fish. So if you have had perhaps 4 pieces of fish in one year that\'s the same as getting four fillings done, so not it\'s not actually too bad now days. And no there is no lead in them either. What you get is a mix of Silver, Copper, Tin and some Mercury to make it all stick. I\'m all for new technologies, but you have to be careful. A lot of these new techniques and products have not been around long enough for the long term effects to be tested so we shall soon see I suppose!

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