12/15/2015 03:44 EST | Updated 12/15/2015 05:59 EST

Tooth Fillings May Sometimes Be Unnecessary, Australian Study Finds

Heading to the dentist for a filling can be both pricey and uncomfortable — but a new study found that in some cases, it may be totally unnecessary.

Researchers at the University of Sydney found that tooth decay can be halted, prevented and even reversed without the need for a dentist's drill.

Their seven-year study revealed that preventative oral care reduced the need for fillings by 30 to 50 per cent.

Half a century of research has shown that decay develops more slowly than was once thought and isn't always progressive, associate professor Wendell Evans said.

"For example, it takes an average of four to eight years for decay to progress from the tooth's outer layer (enamel) to the inner layer (dentine). That is plenty of time for the decay to be detected and treated before it becomes a cavity and requires a filling."

You can learn more about the study in the video above.

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