One of the most common reasons why people hate going to the dentist is the sound of the drill- this essential piece of equipment in dentistry often creates fear and apprehension in many people who would like to get their cavities fixed. Now there is some good news- scientists have developed a novel method of regenerating rotten death that may decrease the need for a drill in the near future.
And How Is This Possible?
This novel non-invasive technique revolves around the stimulation of stem cells that reside in the soft pulp. Once activated, these cells will boost the normal healing process in the teeth. Normally, the natural healing of the tooth is limited to only the small injuries in dentine- the majority of large holes or cavities are not healed by the process of natural healing.
In a remarkable series of experiments done in the laboratory, these researchers were astonished by the healing abilities of a new drug currently being studies to treat Alzheimer disease. The drug, Tideglusib, was able to induce stimulation of the cells inside the pulp and repaired and rebuilt cavities that extend from the surface of the tooth to the root. Initial studies suggest that Tideglusib triggers stem cells, which in turn stimulate cells involved in repair of the tooth. The end result being manufacture of dentine, which allows even large defects in the center of the tooth to be closed
The present study was conducted in mice. The study involved making cavities in their teeth with a small drill and inserting a prefabricated biodegradeable sponge that had already been soaked with Tideglusib. The cavity was then closed with a dental glue. Several weeks later, the researchers observed that the cavities had sealed and the sponge had disappeared.
Tooth decay happens to almost all people at some point in their life. The number of people needing their cavities fixed is in the millions each year. Not only is this an expensive undertaking but also there are a significant number of people who have phobias about going to the dentist. This novel method of fixing cavities will not only lessen fear among the public but it deemed to be a quick and cheap method of repairing damaged teeth.
Dentists do agree that restoration of the tooth’s original dentine anatomy and structure is preferred because the use of dental cement that is used for filling cavities can weaken the tooth, making it susceptible to future infections. The use of cement also has the potential to cause to erosion and/or loss of the tooth. In some cases, when the cavity is large dentists often have to remove the entire tooth and replace it with an implant.
This novel method, which enhances a natural method of tooth repair, has the potential to change the practice of dentistry – if it works in humans.
Overall, there is now a general consensus that the tooth is not some inert structure but is living tissue with its own anatomical and physiological functions. While filling with cement does help fix cavities, ultimately the best way to fix holes and cavities is by natural means.
This new treatment will not completely eliminate the need for the drill because some teeth may be beyond repair and will still need to be removed.
Today biodegradeable sponges are commercially available and have been proven to be safe for human use. All that remains is to formulate the sponge with the right concentration of the drug.
Will It Work?
However, despite all the hype, there still remains a question if this treatment will work in humans who tend to have much larger cavities than the drilled holes in mice. While scientists are currently conducting more studies on rats, the potential for this treatment in humans still remains questionable. Dentistry has changed a lot in the past two decades; it is no longer a profession concerned with just filling and drilling but also preserving and stimulating natural healing processes.
If this treatment does work, it will be a remarkable achievement in dentistry and for the person who has patented the drug- it has the potential to make him or her a multibillionaire overnight.