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Painless cap ends dentist fear for kids

First published by Belinda Feek for New Zealand Herald

A pain-free and revolutionary new way of fixing tooth decay in children is being rolled out by some district health boards.

The Hall Technique – created by Scottish dentist Norma Hall several decades ago – simply glues a stainless steel cap to the decay-affected tooth.

What is deemed “radical” by those in the industry is that the painful process of digging the decay out of the tooth no longer happens.

Dr Hall discovered that by capping the tooth, trapping in the bacteria, the decay can no longer feed itself so eventually dies. It meant there was now no need to carry out painful extractions, fillings or repairs of fillings.

Waikato District Health Board was the first to use the scheme in 2012. Clinical trials have also since begun in Gisborne and Northland.

Waikato DHB principal dental officer Rob Aitken said during 2015, 4279 caps were placed on children’s teeth, compared with 4072 tooth extractions in patients under 17.

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