Imagine how neat it would be if your own teeth were able to completely fill in the hole left by a cavity! With scientific advancements, self-repairing teeth could become a fascinating reality in the coming future.
Hey Stem Cells—Wake Up!
Scientists are looking closely at the drug Tideglusib, an inexpensive experimental cell-stimulating drug deemed safe for use in patients exhibiting Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers believe this drug may be the answer to naturally treating tooth decay. Baby teeth and permanent teeth have an abundant source of usable stem cells in their dental pulp, the innermost tooth layer made of nerves and blood vessels. Presently, these stem cells can regenerate a very thin layer of new dentin after a dental injury, but not nearly enough to close up the gap remaining after drilling out a cavity. Instead of filling in a cavity with cement or amalgam, this drug would “wake up” stem cells within the pulp to regrow enough bone tissue to naturally fix the tooth after decay damage. Tooth repair with Tideglusib has only been tested on rats, but researchers hope to start human trials in the coming year.
Another tactic to stimulating dental pulp stem cells in teeth is currently being researched at the University of Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine in New York. Dr. Praveen Arany, an assistant professor of oral biology, is testing photobiomodulation, or low-level light therapy, to heal and regenerate dentin tissue.
Benefits of Enhanced Dentin Regrowth
Harnessing the power to mobilize stem cells within the dental pulp could be the start to a new era in dental practices! After root canal therapy, a patient’s tooth could be prompted to regrow its own filling for greater strength and durability, instead of using synthetic materials. Moreover, for those with tooth sensitivity, dentists could grow an intrinsic barrier of dentin to protect a tooth’s inner nerves from irritation.
Regrowing an Entire Tooth
The only current avenue of growing an entire tooth is by harvesting embryo stem cells, which involves many ethical and legal considerations. Therefore, researchers are searching for other ways to create a “tooth primordium”, or a tooth in its first developmental stage, to regrow a new tooth in a patient’s jaw. However, there is a still a lot of research and legalities to sort out, so don’t expect being able to regrow your entire tooth for many, many years.
We Can Restore Your Smile Now!
Until we join the ranks of self-regenerating organisms such as salamanders, starfish, and plants, we offer realistic-looking tooth-replacement options today. Ask us about dentures and dental implants to restore the function and appearance of your smile. We also utilize the latest-and-greatest technology to safely and effectively detect and treat tooth decay, so you can be confident your smile is healthy. Schedule your next appointment at our Gilbert dental office!