Researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a treatment that enables the tooth’s own stem cells to renew themselves and repair the damaged tissue.
While this does not mean that your teeth will be perfect and resistant to everything, the material injected into the tooth can heal it and avoid the need for future fillings and root canal treatments. The procedure itself is exactly like ordinary dental fillings, with the substance being put into the tooth and hardening with the help of ultraviolet light.
A filling that heals teeth
We will take the liberty of assuming that there are not many people in this world who make dental appointments for the fun of it – in fact, we all prefer to avoid this disagreeable situation as much as possible. At the same time, despite our awareness of dental health and preventing tooth decay, many of us periodically need a root canal treatment, which is one of the most frequent dental treatments. The purpose of this treatment is a positive one, of course (despite the pain and discomfort it entails), but removing the dental tissue from the tooth weakens it: In contrast to other organs in the body, a tooth does not grow new organic tissue and must therefore be filled with synthetic material to replace it.
The problem is that the material currently used in dental fillings is toxic to cells; nevertheless, a root canal is still one of the most common dental treatments. In order to make all our lives a little more pleasant, the research team has designed synthetic biological substances that can be used for dental fillings, and which can be put into direct contact with the tissue to stimulate the original stem cells to recreate themselves and repair the damaged dentin layer.
Like any other medical development, we should not expect to see dentists employing this soon, but it is definitely a practical solution that may be relevant in the future. With this material, a dentist will not have to perform extremely invasive surgery and reach the “root of the problem” to save your teeth.