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Australian dentist to train for drill-free dentistry

Jul 20, 2012

Photo Source: University of Sydney

When you hear the word “dentist”, what is your first impression? For many people it’s the high-pitched, whining drill used in most dental offices. Bzzz…

The drill is believed to be the root cause of why many people fear dentist appointments. That’s why an Australian dental professor based at the University of Sydney has devoted much of his career exploring ways of removing that fear.

And now he’s got a plan.

Beginning in 2013 Wendell Evans, an Associate Professor of Dentistry at the university, will begin training dentists on delivering ‘no-drill’ dental care to patients as part of their clinical training.

His program is called the Caries Management System protocols, or CMSP. The belief is if dentist trainees follow the protocols outlined in the CMSP, the whiny dentists’ drill could be shelved to the bottom shelf.

Professor Evans has long advocated the regular use of fluoride toothpaste and will also teach training dentists about the application of professional strength fluoride varnish and the use of dental sealants. He will also conduct intensive coaching on tooth brushing techniques.

In an extensive study led by Evans and supported by an Australian health research council and Colgate-Palmolive, the program’s protocols were tested at 11 general dental practices in New South Wales province. The results after two years:

  • 40 percent reduction in tooth decay
  • 50 percent decline in the need for first-time fillings
  • More than a 50 percent production in the number of repeat fillings, even in high risk patients

It was the success of the program that inspired teaching the CMSP principals to trainee dentists and the creation of the ‘no-drill’ clinic, said Professor Christopher Peck, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.

“By training our future dentists on how to work with their patients using tooth brushing coaching sessions and a program of motivational interviewing, we hope to instill a life-long commitment to oral hygiene for our patients," he said. “As long as tooth decay is identified before actual cavities have dug into the teeth, they can be stopped, reversed, and future occurrences prevented.”

"If patients conform to a timely dental care regimen tailored to their risk status, we can reverse the decay," added Professor Evans.

The “drill-less” clinic will be based within the Westmead Centre for Oral Health, the teaching arm of the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Dentistry.   

Source:, University of Sydney

Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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