All smiles as new product looks to have child tooth decay licked
RESEARCH by a county dental practice could "prove vital" in preventing thousands of children suffering from tooth decay, according to experts.
Sixty children who are patients at the Hafren Dental House Practice, in Alfreton, had a special sealant used on some of their permanent teeth before they came fully through.
This was because studies have shown that, if dentists wait until a tooth is fully through before applying a protective coating, the tooth is exposed to possible decay for longer.
But, since 2011, the Cressy Road's dental therapist – Laura Rose Brady – has applied this special sealant to the ridges and grooves of 172 teeth.
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And, during check-ups with each patient a year on, findings showed no tooth which was sealed went on to develop dental decay.
Miss Brady said: "We're delighted with the findings, which ultimately could protect thousands of people's teeth from serious decay and a lifetime of fillings and drillings.
"We're now looking at putting a proposal together to see if other NHS dental practices in Derbyshire would be interested in trialling the sealant – as these are potentially significant findings."
The practice completed the study with support from the universities of Nottingham and Sheffield, with Miss Brady chosen by the Colgate and the Oral and Dental Research Trust 2011 DCP award programme to carry out the research.
Dr Bhupinder Dawett, lead dentist at the surgery, said he now planned to put together a bid to National Institute for Health Research for more research to be done on the sealant – which is made by dental manufacturer GC Ltd.
He said the practice would approach others in the county to see if they would be interested in trialling the sealant, before aiming to submit the bid in the summer.
The role of the NIHR is to fund research and develop evidence which can then help health bodies make decisions at a national level.
Dr Dawett said: "These are exciting findings but more needs to be done to establish the effectiveness of the sealant.
"This product has been available for a while but we don't think it is used that often.
"The project was about getting the ball rolling to see if this product shows promise and it does. But we now need to do further work before we can definitely say it does make a difference."
Keith Mann, head of primary care for NHS Derbyshire County, said: "This has been an enormously successful project, led by a highly skilled team of professionals.
"I look forward to seeing if the trial's 100% success rate can be replicated in other studies as it could prove vital in combating child tooth decay."