In the last few months there have been reports of two new techniques of halting and repairing tooth decay that do not employ 'mechanics'. The common practice of drilling away tooth decay, and the immediate surroundings of healthy tooth, are a bit like 1960s car body repairs, but both new techniques stimulate the tooth to repair itself.
In the first reported science, from the USA, the US government's dental research team uses a brief irradiation of intense laser light to activate a chemical in the mouth which triggers previously inactive stem cells within the tooth into action. The stem cells then form new dentine around the tooth within about twelve weeks.
More recently, a technique stimulates tooth self-repair by applying a small electrical signal to the decayed tooth.
Professor Nigel Pitts, from King's College London's Dental Institute, said:
"When we repair a tooth by putting in a filling, that tooth enters a cycle of drilling and re-filling as, ultimately, each 'repair' fails.
"Not only is our device kinder to the patient and better for their teeth, but it's expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments.
Reminova Ltd, of Perth in Scotland is searching for private investment to develop the technique.
The company has been established from the King's College London Dental Innovation and Translation Centre which helps transate technologies into commercial products and services.
The technique can also whiten teeth.
The dental institute currently has a conference: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/dentistry/index.aspx
Update: "3D-printed replacement teeth could come with the added bonus of being able to destroy 99 percent of bacteria that they come into contact with." This is by making the teeth with built-in anti bacterial properties.