A new gas-firing device has been developed as a painless substitute to the dentist's drill and can make the fillings even stronger, researchers say.
The new device by researchers at the University of Missouri looks similar to an electric toothbrush and cleans out cavities in rotten teeth in just 30 seconds.
It works by generating high-energy gas and liquid particles to kill bacteria and blast out the decayed pulp of the tooth, the Daily Mail reported.
Researchers have insisted that the new device could alleviate discomfort for patients, as it does not affect the extremely sensitive nerves in the teeth.
Conventional drills cause pain as the vibrations from the drill trigger signals in these nerves.
The new device, dubbed 'non-thermal argon plasma brush', fires out particles that carry a tiny electrical charge; these cut through the enamel to the middle of the tooth, instantly killing all bacteria they come into contact with.
The charged particles also clear out the inside of the tooth in a much more clean manner, which makes the filling bond more strongly to the tooth.
Although the fillings can last up to ten years but many people find they fall out sooner - the problem is that each tooth can support only two to three fillings before it has to be extracted.
Ont eh other hand, the laboratory studies with the new plasma brush have revealed that fillings are 60 per cent stronger.
"Non-thermal gas plasma treatment will be a painless, tissue-saving method for dental cavity preparation because of its non-destructive nature, and rapid sterilising capability," researchers said.
Human clinical trials are expected to start at the University of Tennessee-Memphis early this year, and if the studies go well, the researchers believe that the plasma brush could be available with the dentists by the end of next year.