LONDON (Xinhua) – Researchers have developed a new approach that can boost our teeth’s natural ability to repair large cavities, reducing the need to use man-made cements or fillings, according to a study released Monday by King’s College London.
When large cavities are found in teeth, the usual treatment is mending them with man-made cements or fillings, such as calcium and silicon-based products. But these fillings are prone to infections and often need to be replaced a number of times, and as they are hard to disintegrate, the normal mineral level of the teeth is never completely restored.
A team of researchers from King’s College London has found a way to stimulate the stem cells contained in the pulp of the tooth and generate new dentine – the mineralised material that protects the tooth – in large cavities. Thus doctors can replace the usual treatment with a more natural solution for patients.
The team used small molecules to stimulate the renewal of the stem cells. One of them is called Tideglusib, which has been used in clinical trials to treat neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, according to the researchers.
Using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides “a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics,” said Professor Paul Sharpe, one of the authors of the study.