The tool emits a small electrical current that promotes the remineralization of the tooth, driving calcium, phosphate, and other substances back into the enamel (cavities happen when bacteria break down, or demineralize, the enamel with acid). The technique would take about as much time and cost about the same or less than a traditional filling, and publications describing the technique should be published "in coming months," they said.
The technique could put an end the cycle of filling and re-filling, said King's professor Nigel Pitts. "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". But this remineralization procedure only needs to be done once, he added.
A Scottish company called Reminova Ltd is trying to commercialize the technology and said it could be available in three years if enough funding is found. It could take slightly longer in the U.S., though, due to the different regulatory environment, the scientists said.
The Chacán-Pi (Making Love) artwork by the Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara has been outside Tübingen University's institute for microbiology and virology since 2001 and had previously mainly attracted juvenile sniggers rather than adventurous explorers.
According to De la Jara, the 32-ton sculpture made out of red Veronese marble is meant to signify "the gateway to the world".
The mayor of Tübingen told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that he struggled to imagine how the accident could have happened, "even when considering the most extreme adolescent fantasies. To reward such a masterly achievement with the use of 22 firefighters almost pains my soul."