Scientists tested a new teeth treatment that involves using stem cells as dental fillings. The practice could end the need for root canals.
Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Nottingham won the Royal Society of Chemistry prize for their discovery. The winning includes media support, business training and support, and a cash prize.
The new tooth fillings will use stem cells to stimulate the growth of dentin. Patients will be able to regrow the teeth that had been damaged.
The Traditional Treatment
The traditional treatment for cavities involves drilling out the affected dentin and filling the hole with a chemical composition. It is profoundly disturbing for patients, and it usually does not stop the decay.
In case the intervention does not succeed, and the tooth still gets sick, dentists remove the pulp from the root canal. This ultimate solution brings additional damage to the tissue, and the tooth becomes more and more fragile.
The classic dental fillings rely on materials that should restore the function, the morphology and the integrity of the tooth. However, they often become toxic to teeth and the organism rejects the active substance.
If the dental pulp is damaged, a root canal is needed to extract the infected tissue, and the process is irreversible.
Dental Fillings with Stem Cells
The scientists designed biomaterials that can be used just like traditional dental feelings. The difference is that they stimulate the stem cell population to repair the tissue, which means that the tooth could be able to grow itself back on the inside.
The bioactive fillings could be used for both dental disease treatments and dental surgery.
The stem cells will bring the regeneration of the dentin and the pulp. They will effectively help the tooth to restore itself to its initial form, and leave no cavities and vulnerable empty spaces in the roots or the dentine layer.
The discovery could initiate a new field in dental care, the restorative dentistry, which is regarded with high hopes as the pulp cannot restore itself like other tissues inside the human body. Once a tooth is damaged, the process of decay cannot be stopped, and it usually ends up with an unpleasant empty space.
Researchers are now discussing with industry partners to make the new material available for patients.
As the last year’s winner managed to secure a funding of $1.7 million from the Gates Foundation, it may be that the new bioactive dental treatment will be introduced on the market relatively soon.
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