Are you afraid of the dentist? It’s possible you may not need him in the near future. British researchers developed a material that enables a decayed tooth to renew itself and fill the cavity that formed in it.
These researchers are from King’s College in London found that the drug Tideglusib which already was tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease and a substance called glycogen synthase kinase were applied to the tooth on a biodegradable sponge made from collagen.
Normally, if a tooth gets a cavity, the soft inner pulp can become exposed, risking further infection. When this happens, the body will naturally attempt to bridge the gap and seal off the pulp with a band of dentine, the hard material that makes up most of the tooth. Most of the time, the germs and decay win and we need a man-made filling, courtesy of your dentist.
However the researchers found that the body’s natural repair mechanism could be boosted to allow the tooth to actually regrow its structure or other tissue found in the tooth. Tideglusib stimulates stem cell growth, so the tissue already present in the pulp can create new dentine. In small cavities this alone would suffice. For larger cavities the collagen sponge soaked with Tidegluseb is inserted into the cleaned out cavity. As the sponge degrades, it gets replaced by dentine grown by the tooth stimulated by the medication, “leading to complete, natural repair”, according to a KCL statement issued about the research.
The KCL statement said: “The novel, biological approach could see teeth use their natural ability to repair large cavities rather than using cements or fillings, which are prone to infections and often need replacing a number of times. Indeed when fillings fail or infection occurs, dentists have to remove and fill an area that is larger than what is affected, and after multiple treatments the tooth may eventually need to be extracted. As this new method encourages natural tooth repair, it could eliminate all of these issues, providing a more natural solution for patients.”
So “saying ahh” at the dentist office may become a thing of the past or at least be minimized and less painful.