by Dr. Sean Moran on March 20, 2012
In recent years, a new and sometimes controversial technique for painlessly dealing with caries (cavities) has become more and more prominent in the world of children’s dentistry, however more testing is required before it can be used on adults.
The method (known as the Hall Technique and developed by UK dentist Norna Hall) differs greatly with conventional means. Traditionally, childhood molars experiencing cavities are drilled to remove the decay and then filled. Conversely, the new method is performed by simply placing a stainless steel crown over a decaying tooth and bonding it in place—sealing in the decay.1
This has proven to be an effective method because the decay is then deprived of both oxygen and bacteria, making further decay either cease completely or slow down to a level that proves inconsequential for a baby tooth.
These affected teeth usually fall out around age 10.
A study published in Evidence-Based Dentistry compared 132 traditional treatments with 132 teeth treated using the Hall Technique. It concluded that “After 2 years, Hall PMC (Preformed Metal Crowns) showed more favorable outcomes for pulpal health and restoration longevity than conventional restorations. The Hall technique appears to offer an effective treatment option for carious primary (baby) molar teeth.”2
So far, however, this method had only proven viable for young children because of the relatively short lifespan of baby teeth. Adult teeth that need to remain healthy for an entire lifetime cannot afford this method of ‘managed decline’. Various dentists are working on adaptations of the procedure, and further studies will be needed before any such treatment can be used on adults.
1) Dentistry.co.uk, “Dental News.” Accessed March 5, 2012. http://www.dentistry.co.uk/news/4920–Crowns-Oral-health-Metal-crown-solves-kidsqapos-painful-tooth-decay
2) Rosenblatt, Aronita. “The Hall technique is an effective treatment option for carious primary molar teeth.”Evidence-Based Dentistry. 9. (2007): 44-45. http://www.nature.com/ebd/journal/v9/n2/abs/6400579a.html