New technology means that a generation of children may be able to grow up without the common fears of dental drills and needles.
The University of Otago Dental School has trialled a new technique for fixing holes in children's teeth that doesn't involve the use of a drill or anaesthetic.
Instead of a drill being used to remove decay, it is sealed in with a stainless steel crown placed over an affected baby molar tooth in children aged between five and 8 year.
The decay eventually stops expanding because the bacteria are starved of nutrients and the steel cover falls out with the tooth naturally when a child turns about 10.
The technique was tested on Hawke's Bay childrenwith 10 local dental therapists trained to use it as part of a $150,000 study.
Specialist paediatric dentist Dorothy Boyd did the training and says the results were positive with most the children actually enjoying their visit to the clinic.