Researchers have in more recent times discovered several drugs that can stimulate self-repair mechanisms like nothing we have seen before. Cavities are something we have all faced at one point in life or another, they can be a bit tricky and for a dentist, a bit frustrating.
While dentists, for the most part, tend to merely drill holes into the affected teeth and fill the area in with some kind of synthetic fillers we now seem to have the knowledge and technology to essentially convince the tooth to regrow itself from the inside out. Sounds a bit crazy doesn’t it? Well, it is quite possible!
A study published just this past year in Scientific Reports went over this technique and ever since this is something that has been progressing at a rapid speed. This kind of thing seems to be quite close to human trials and could eventually become a normal practice for dentists everywhere. This could easily be one of the most important medical advances in quite some time if everything continues as it has been and according to plan.
Part of the study mentioned above goes as follows:
Having established that the experimental model of tooth damage and pulp exposure provided a way of delivering small molecules that were able to affect pulp cell gene expression in a reproducible way, we used this method to examine the effect on the formation of reparative dentine. Maxillary molars were drilled and sponges inserted and left for 4–6 weeks before removal. Micro-computed tomographic (μCT) scanning was used to visualize and quantify mineral deposition at the drill site. Analysis at both 4 and 6 weeks revealed increased mineralization with all three agonists when compared to controls with no obvious increases between 4 to 6 weeks (Fig. 3K, L). These increases were statistically significant for BIO, CHIR, and Tideglusib both at 4 and 6 weeks. Overall the mineralization with the inhibitors was on average 2 times greater than in the sponge alone control and 1.7 times greater than with MTA treatment. Following decalcification, sections were made through each molar and stained to reveal new dentine formation. The sections confirmed the μCT data showing that when teeth were treated with GSK-3 inhibitors, more reparative dentine was formed at the injury site than with collagen sponge or MTA (Fig. 4). Moreover, the new dentine formed with the new conditions presented as dense dentine localized centrally to the injury site, revealing no remaining collagen sponge where the dentine was formed. Interestingly, by 6 weeks of treatment, the reparative dentine secreted when teeth were treated with BIO, CHIR, and Tideglusib filled the whole injury site from occlusal to pulp chamber roof (Fig. 4H–J). Most importantly, dental pulp remained vital compared to controls consisting of exposed pulp with no capping, glass ionomer only showed no evidence of reparative dentine formation and severely hypoplastic pulp (Figs 4H–J; S3).
You can see just how effective it has proven to be in the image below. While there is still much more research and testing to be done this sort of thing has come quite far even now. I for one am excited to see where this takes us. What do you think about all of this? Would you rather repair your tooth via regrowth or merely have your cavities filled? I for one am all for regrowing my teeth.
(Image Via: Pixabay/rgerber)