Tooth decay could soon be treated with a painless "remineralisation" technique developed in London, that means damaged enamel repairs itself, dentists said today.
The technique, which spells the end of drilling, could be available in three years.
The new treatment, developed at King's College London, is called Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation and is expected to cost around the same as fillings.
It speeds up the natural movement of calcium and phosphate minerals into the damaged tooth, which then repairs itself.
Decay is normally removed by drilling, followed by a filling with a material such as amalgam or composite resin.
The new process prepares the damaged area of enamel, then uses a tiny electric current to push minerals into the repair site so the enamel can repair itself.