back to article German dentists develop 'painless' plasma tooth-blaster

More news of exotic high technology benefiting the human race today, as German gnasher-boffins announce a cunning plan to replace dentists' drills with "painless, contact-free" plasma beam devices. Rotting teeth, one of the most painful (and expensive) medical problems faced by modern humans, are caused when mouth bacteria such …

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Alert

But what about the 0.01%

"Their "cold" (roughly 40°C) plasma-beam instruments apparently killed 99.99 per cent of the tooth-rotting invaders."

Leaving 0.01% of battle hardened, plasma imune bacteria to run rampant through your teeth unless you get them drilled.

Just like those adverts that show most of the bacteria being killed with a wipe, I dont worry about the ones that got killed, they were probably wimps, and no real threat. Its the one that was left alive that scares the hell out of me.

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I think that's just a scapegoat

They'll always give a convenient figure like 99.99% so that when it inevitably misses a few they can just say "Well, that's the .01% that it can't kill." thereby avoiding the inevitable lawsuits that would result from a claim of 100% removal.

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Anonymous Coward

Well

You don't honestly think drilling the tooth and putting a filling in removes 100% of the bacteria present in every case do you? If it even gets 99.99% I'll be surprised.

Given the choice I'll take the futuristic, non-sore plasma solution please.

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Happy

@"Leaving 0.01% of battle hardened, plasma imune bacteria to run rampant through your teeth"

and therefore free to multiply rapidly, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEwzDydciWc&feature=related

So within a day, you are overrun with battle hardened bacteria. :)

... nice thought :)

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FAIL

.001% back up to strength in about 6 hours

...in ideal circumstances, since they divide every 20 minutes

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Coat

German dentistry?

Is it safe?

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Coat

Damn!

Beat me to it, Larry.

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Stop

Nothing works anymore

"apparently killed 99.99 per cent of the tooth-rotting invaders."

So it missed a bit eh?

Every time I see an advert for a cleaning/medication product these days I notice there's always one bit of flu left clinging to the back of your throat, one dodgy green blob left untouched under the rim of your toilet etc.

I'm pretty sure that when I was a lad the products were better and cleaned up all the scum*

</grump>

* This comment created in a nut free environment, comment can not be guaranteed to be free of nuts

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Not convinced

I've had two "contact free" procedures. One involved a laser up my nose (don't ask). That hurt like hell. The other involved very high frequency radio in my mouth. That was the single most painful experience of my life - all whilst the dentist was eulogising "see, it doesn't hurt a bit does it? It's amazing this thing". I was in pain for several days afterwards but unable to protest at the time due to having a large radio transmitter and the dentists hands in my mouth along with a decent quantity of bleach.

"Contact free" might be cheaper and require less training - but in my (admittedly, rather limited) experience that certainly doesn't mean pain free.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Unable to protest?

Hm. Going "GAAAAH!" while giving him a punch in the nadgers seems to got my point across that the anesthesia apparently isn't doing a thing. Especially after telling him novocaine derivatives don't do much for me. He was warned.

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Just sent...

to my colleague who's at the dentist.

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Helium Plasma Jet?

Hmm... 40 degree plasma ... ionized helium atoms.... Interesting. Do they mean alpha particles? Curiouser and curiouser. how do they get them to penetrate a tooth?

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by aiming it

one assumes it's a small outlet on the end of a flexible tube, but also thanks you for picking apart the jargon that I really should have seen thru (or not, if the psychological research re: technobabble mentioned in Bad Science is to be believed).

If they aim it in there, the alpha particles may be just strong enough to take out the bacteria without being able to then penetrate their corpses - or at least very far into the dentine - therefore having the desired effect?

and the immune system / traditional disinfectants on the surface of some kind of temporary packing put in the tooth (or: mouthwash, with an exhortation to repeat the swill every 6 hours on pain of, well, pain!) can mop up the 0.01%. possibly with a nil-but-springwater-by-mouth ban for 24 hours.

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Pint

Does this mean ...

..... new employment opportunities for sharks?

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If true

in 5 to 6 years then the people who invented it should get a nobel "pain free" price. They should get a statue too.

As a true man, i'm not scared of the dentist. But when i hear that noise the drill makes ... gives me the cold sweats already

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Gold badge

Drilling / anaesthestic.

"....Such drilling often requires a local anaesthetic....."

"Often"? Years ago maybe. These days the sadist^H^H^H^H^H^Hdentist usually reaches for the huge* needle before even thinking about touching a drill. I've not heard one offer anaesthesia as an optional item for some time now.

*Objectively speaking it's fairly small in the hypodermic scheme of things. Subjectively it feels like something** more suitable for dishorsing French Knights at range.

**And a rusty, blunt something at that.

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@ TeeCee

Mine offers the option. I usually don't bother either, it doesn't hurt much & saves all that swelling/dribbling/ and, worst of all, difficulty eating.

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Unhappy

Oh I dunno.

I've had one dentist, just one, who knew how to stick a syringeful of jollop into a gum in such a way as to completely and utterly deaden the desired work site without affecting anything else at all.

I should never have moved away. When it comes to "location, location, location" having painless and drool free dentistry within easy walking distance trumps everything else IMHO.

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Heart

the big syringe of anaesthetic?

you mean like this? :D

http://www.housepetscomic.com/2009/01/28/unorthodox-medicine/

i do wonder if this is for real

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Boffin

How safe is it ... long term? ...

The more I think about it, the more I would like to know the long term medical implications of this Cold Plasma. Its all very well blasting a Petri Dish with Cold Plasma, but whats its long term biological effects in the body?. e.g. cancer causing potential.

They might just as well say a powerful source of hard UV does the same thing to bacteria, but no way in hell would I risk placing my DNA near it!

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Godsend

Specially for blokes like me who are highly resistant to local anesthetics. I still fear dentists. The last time I had to get a filling repaired (stupid granola caused my filling to break). [s]The vietcong interrogator[/s]Dentist gave me several doses of local anesthesia and was scared when I told her that I felt the drill. After 5 or 6 doses, I just told her to do it. I think my finger sized dents are still on that seat.

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Unhappy

I feel your pain

I've had root canal work that required an injection into the canal. Even after that it still hurt like hell..

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Unhappy

@ Adam Trickett

Thanks mate - I've got to have a root canal done in a couple of weeks time, and I was already dreading it!

Just reading this article made my toes curl and my bum suck in - I HATE going to the dentist. I had a tooth extracted on Monday morning - a very bad start to the week - it took two dentists almost an hour to get it out (the first had to stop because her arm was hurting - imagine how my face felt!).

Oh, and a dentist explained to me once that if having the injection is sore or uncomfortable, it's likely the dentists fault - if they squeeze too hard on the syringe, it builds up pressure in your gum. She was brilliant - she rarely made me wince, was dead patient with my pansy-like behaviour and almost made me stop worrying about the idea of a visit - then she retired!

I should have listened when my Mum told me to brush my teeth properly all those years ago :-)

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J 3
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Yup, that's true

I used to go to a dentist back home who was able to apply the anesthetics without pain -- to me, I mean, not him. His "secret" was to warm up the syringe, as well as skill in choosing the right spot (after the customary piece of cotton with surface anesthetics on the spot, of course). Worked every time, I could never tell when he had started or finished injecting the stuff.

Same goes for the tooth extraction stuff. A couple of years ago I had my four wisdom teeth removed, all in one go (now I have even less wisdom, haha, er...). A different dentist from the one above. It took exactly two hours from me sitting on the chair to getting up from it -- it only took that long because one of them broke, due to a cavity, and took a little longer to extract (about 30 min, I think). After all was so easily over, I asked about all the horror stories I had heard about wisdom tooth extraction, and how lucky I must have been, etc... The dentist, a real, specialized dental surgeon who only does that told me that the stories were due to bad dentists not knowing very well what they are doing. He said he could treat a cavity, for instance, but would probably be a bit lousy at it.

So there you go, choose well. :-)

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Pirate

What about the cost?

I dont' know how much it would cost to blast you with cold plasma but I imagine an anaesthestic and a drill are probably cheaper.

I've not been to the dentist for 10 years, not because I'm afraid of drills but because I'm afraid they'll fleece me for every penny I've got.

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Anonymous Coward

Costs

I had root canal treatment at my NHS dentist yesterday. It took over half an hour after the anaesthetic kicked in, drilling, removing the nerve, washing, drying and filling the canal, then a filling on top. The bill was £29.10

Might be worth asking how much it costs before all your teeth fall out.

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I can help you there.

Saw this chap on the news this morning - he reckoned it would cost about £75 per tooth.

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Troll

It may work

But which self-respecting dentist would opt for a painless method? Inconceivable!

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Boffin

Especially a German one

They like to go in for marathon sessions I believe. Ask Dustin Hoffman

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Joke

Since this

has been developed by German scientists it, will work. As advertised. Or so.

Anything in Germany works. Sort of.

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Remind me to praise my ancestors

For giving me a mouthful of healthy, powerful, cavity-free teeth. Generations of dentists have wept over my family tree. I mock your pain. In fact, I'm going to go call my dentist and make an appointment for a cleaning just so I can share your story and then laugh at him.

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Bronze badge

skilled work

"Such drilling often requires a local anaesthetic, meaning that the procedure is skilled and expensive work."

Great. So, we're opening dentistry to the unskilled?

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J 3
Badgers

gnasher-boffins

Gnasher-boffins: word of the week! In German that should be Gnascherboffin, I reckon.

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Unhappy

It's not the tool in your mouth, it's the nut that holds it...

I've had 3 dentists in 10 years and fired them all, having spent a small fortune. The end result from these money-grubbing incompetents being that both my wife and I now suffer more from the results of their hamfisted efforts than from any natural problems with our teeth.

My choice of future dentists is rather hampered right now by the fact that I currently live in an area of Southern Scotland that has - effectively - no available dental services.

So it doesn't matter how new and exciting this new device is - what really counts is the clown who's holding it, or even whether or not you can even obtain treatment at all.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm in full agreement

I just got told I had an abcess in my gum and rotting dental bone, due to several hamfisted attempts to fill a molar by joining it to the next tooth, thus crap got caught underneath and provided a large home for bacteria, even after me sawing through part of the filling with floss.

I'm told the dentist should have smoothed down the filling, and so the head dentist said he would fix it.....his admin staff then decided to rebook me with the "probationary" dentist as he was doing a checkup anyway.....yay

Bloody NHS and stupid UK law, if it was the states I'd sue for malpractise as the dentists have essentially caused this problem, I swear many of my childhood fillings were simply to boost my old dentists income from the govt and not because I needed them....he even threatened to have me restrained at 15....no wonder I stopped going after that for 7 years....current dentists aren't much better though the male trainees fare better than the females who usually are so terrified of the sight of blood or using a drill they make a hens arse out of it or don;t ever bother doing proper x rays

No wonder my wife's dentist in Canada reckoned UK dentistry was 15 to 20 years behind North America in terms of dentistry, I firmly agree.

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Anonymous Coward

Um

I'm not being funny, but what "advances" have there been in dentistry in the last 30 years? Fillings are still fillings, don't appear to have changed since my childhood. This plasma is interesting, but not yet available. What do Canadian dentists do, remove teeth using the power of the mind and fill them with ivory?

I reckon your wife's dentist was doing the usual "we're great, other people are shit" routine which is so prevalent in insecure professionals of all trades, including IT, and apparently, dentistry.

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Megaphone

So why not just...

... clean your damn teeth properly (and floss as well) and then you'll not have to suffer at all...!!

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Badgers

Hope for the best

As someone with an under control phobia (if that's not a contradiction in terms) of needles and a full blown phobia of dentists' drills (haven't been since '86), I can but hope that it lives up to the hype.

Off topic, can I recommend to you http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-can-find-1000000-people-who-DO-believe-in-Evolution-before-June/252759483743?ref=nf ? My hope is to get there before the weekend is out and restore some hope for humanity.

Badger, badger, badger.

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Dental Drilling...

Wonder if the old fashioned dental drill was thought to be pain free when first tested on teeth that had already been disconnected from their human host?

As a man who did once grab his dentist by the throat when he drilled a tooth before the pain killing injection had been given time to start doing its pain killing thing, i would welcome something a bit more reliable the the second hand on the dentists wall clock.

"does your mouth feel numb now"

"not really no, just the same as it did"

"ok then, lets proceed, let me know if it hurts"

rrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeee

"GUUUAAAAOORRRRRRRR" *grabs throat*

That dentist didnt work there by the time i went back a month later. Obviously i wasnt the only person who he'd made mistakes with. To be honest, i would be surprised if he was qualified.

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