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Remineralization Device Could Soon Come to Market

Posted on July 24, 2014

A new device being developed by dental researchers at King’s College London could soon bring to market an electronic tool that would encourage teeth to remineralize.

With 2.3 billion affected annually, dental caries is one of the most common preventable diseases globally. Tooth decay normally develops in several stages, starting as a microscopic defect where minerals leach out of tooth. Dentists normally treat established caries in a tooth by drilling to remove the decay and filling the tooth with a material such as amalgam or composite resin.

Reminova Ltd, a company that emerged from King’s College London Dental Innovation and Translation Centre, takes a different approach—one that rebuilds the tooth and heals it without the need for drills, needles, or amalgam. By accelerating the natural process by which calcium and phosphate minerals re-enter the tooth to repair a defect, the device boosts the tooth’s natural repair process.

The two-step method developed by Reminova first prepares the damaged part of the enamel outer layer of the tooth and then uses a tiny electric current to “push” minerals into the tooth to repair the damaged site. The defect is remineralized in a painless process that requires no drills, no injections, and no filling materials. Electric currents are already used by dentists to check the pulp or nerve of a tooth; the new device uses a far smaller current than that currently used on patients and cannot be felt by the patient. The technique, known as Electrically Accelerated and Enhanced Remineralisation (EAER), could be brought to market within 3 years.

Reminova Ltd will be based in Perth, Scotland, to benefit from the strong life sciences and dentistry base. It will commercialize the work of Professor Nigel Pitts and Dr. Chris Longbottom, based in the Dental Institute at King’s College London. With a combined 80 years’ experience in dentistry, they have previously brought dental devices to market to detect tooth decay. The company, formed in collaboration with Innova Partnerships, is currently seeking private investment to develop their remineralization device.

Kit Malthouse, chair of MedCity and London’s deputy mayor for business and enterprise, commented, “It’s brilliant to see the really creative research taking place at King’s making its way out of the lab so quickly and being turned into a new device that has the potential to make a real difference to the dental health and patient experience of people with tooth decay.”