Traditional fillings never actually restore your tooth completely. Plus, they’re prone to infection and often need to be replaced.
Scientists discover an effective treatment in mice, but will it work in humans?
You may never have to dread a trip to the dentist again. Researchers from the Dental Institute at King’s College London have discovered a way to renew stem cells in tooth pulp using a drug previously used for Alzheimer’s treatment. This could potentially put an end to the need for traditional dental fillings, the study suggests.
When your tooth becomes damaged, its inner pulp—made up of blood vessels, tissue, and nerves—can become exposed, leaving the tooth prone to infection. When this happens, your body creates a band of dentine—a material that naturally protects your tooth—to seal your tooth pulp. However, this method doesn’t repair large cavities, the researchers say, so dentists typically use calcium- or silicon-based fillings to fill the holes where these cavities exist.
But traditional fillings never actually restore your tooth completely. Plus, they’re prone to infection and often need to be replaced. If enough complications with the filling occur, your tooth might eventually need to be extracted.
That’s where Tideglusib may come in. Though the drug was originally tested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, the King’s researchers wanted to see if it would stimulate stem cells in teeth. So they placed collagen sponges laced with Tideglusib over mice’s cavities. After 6 weeks, the Tideglusib spurred new dentine growth on the rodents’ teeth, suggesting that your tooth may have the ability to naturally repair itself.
It’s important to note that this study was only performed in mice, and the results are still preliminary. Scientists must do additional testing to see if the findings would apply to humans. Until then, use these simple strategies to keep your mouth healthy for life.