New, Innovative Treatments are Revolutionizing Dental Care
Technologically innovative treatments have proven capable of repairing cavities and even regrowing teeth!
Even with all the tools we have today, fluoride toothpaste and dental sealants for instance, the majority of Americans suffer the pain of dental cavities.
New research has revealed multiple exciting possibilities through cell-stimulating treatment medications; small molecule drugs which appear to allow teeth to grow their own dental tissue and even teeth! Innovative treatments are making the difference.
Stem cells to the rescue
Currently the treatment programs for cavities have remained static: to drill out the decay and replace it with amalgam, a cement-like material. The process isn’t perfect however. Amalgam can fall out and potentially bring more pain later on.
All this can be transformed by the newest developments in therapy drugs that have been demonstrated to coax stem cells within the dental pulp into growing new dentin to repair cavities.
A brand-new discovery regarding a treatment medication created for Alzheimer’s treatment may take the place of dental fillings for repairing cavities. Tideglusib boosts stem cells in the pulp of teeth, encouraging the production of new dentine and natural tooth repair.
Fillings as a dental therapy for cavities may soon be filed in the annals of history thanks to recent discoveries regarding a new drug therapy with Tideglusib. Originally developed and trialed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, it was found to allow teeth to repair cavities by affecting the natural tooth regrowth mechanism.
Tideglusib is of particular interest as it’s low cost and has a safety record established through testing for Alzheimer’s disease. The belief is that it could fast-track the clinical trials for tooth decay applications.
Tideglusib functions through the stimulation of stem cells in the pulp of teeth, where new dentine comes from. Dentine is the mineralized material underneath tooth enamel that is affected by tooth decay.
By boosting stem cells with Tideglusib, the dentin produced incorporates itself totally within the tooth so there’s no danger of the filling falling out, a pretty common occurrence with current techniques. Not much has changed in the last 100 years.
Under particular circumstances, teeth can regenerate dentine naturally, without assistance, however the pulp must be exposed (through infection or trauma). A very thin layer can be restored naturally, but not a sufficient amount to repair damage resulting from decay. Tideglusib treatment shuts off the GSK-3 enzyme, modifying the result and stopping dentine from developing.
In the study, tiny, biodegradable sponges constructed from collagen, drenched in Tideglusib were inserted right into tooth cavities. The sponges activated dentine development, fixing the damage within six weeks. The collagen framework of the sponges disappeared, leaving just the undamaged tooth.
Tideglusib has only been trialed in rats up to this point, but human trials are expected to begin within the year. The hope is to replace amalgam, which actually contains mercury, a harmful metal and best to be avoided…especially in ones mouth.
Since the drug was already in trials for Alzheimer’s it will allow quicker provision for clinical use. Because the approach is so simple, it makes it ideal for the natural treatment of large cavities, providing pulp protection while restoring dentine.
Take heart, there may soon be alternatives to sitting in the dentist’s chair and suffering the drill. New treatment discoveries are made all the time, even when we’re looking elsewhere!
Lasers can Regrow Teeth
Another approach, low-power laser light, is being experimented with to stimulate regeneration of teeth.
Typically, to treat tooth decay, a dentist will perform a root canal, removing most of the tooth and filling the hole with amalgam, capping it with an artificial tooth. These may fail eventually as a result of chewing and cause more pain.
Alternatively, by shining a laser light directly on the exposed pulp it will stimulate dentin production and provide a more stable and resilient cap. Our bodies can potentially heal itself through the use of their own stem cells. Finding the means to jump start that process means a dramatic change to the future of dental treatments.
Innovative Treatments for Growing Whole Teeth
The ultimate goal would be able to facilitate the growth of an entire tooth. It’s been done in mice, however doing so brings some legal and ethical concerns to light. Regrowing whole teeth entails creation of a tooth primordium, or a tooth in its earliest stage, and implanting it where a missing tooth had been. The problem is with the creation of the primordium, which requires the use of stem cells harvested from human embryos, is against US law.
Unfortunately the cells to make teeth are no longer present in adult mouths. Embryos have the only cells we understand that can create an entire tooth.
Revolutionizing Dental Care has Challenges
Even though regrowing teeth isn’t practical now, it’s believed that one day it may offer possible solutions. Other therapies, not using cells from embryos, must be found, which will take a lot of research. Nevertheless, scientists are optimistic it will happen in time.