British Researchers Make Breakthrough in Self-Repairing Teeth – It Could Mean No More Fillings or Root Canals

If there are two words that strike fear into the hearts of many Americans, it’s “root canal.” It doesn’t matter that a root canal isn’t the painful procedure that it once was. Many people will endure a lot of pain from an infected tooth before going to the dentist.

Imagine another scenario. You have a large cavity and decide to be responsible and go to the dentist. Instead of the “drill and fill” that has been the treatment for many years, a medication is delivered to the tooth and within a few weeks, the tooth has repaired itself. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?

British Scientists are Testing Self-Repairing Teeth

Well, according to Scientific Reports on Jan. 9, 2017, self-repairing teeth could be coming to a mouth near you. Researchers recently completed the early testing stage in mice for this remarkable concept and the results are promising. Testing on the larger teeth of rats is in process. Human testing will be needed before this procedure could be approved.

Even if the human testing is successful, approval of this procedure in the U.K. does not mean automatic approval in the U.S. If your dentist told you that you need a root canal or fillings, don’t wait. It’s going to be a while.

How It Works

Teeth have always had the ability to use their own stem cells to repair very small cavities. The body produces a thin layer of dentine, sealing the tooth pulp (the living center of the tooth) and preventing further infection. That’s somewhat like putting a bandaid on a small wound until it heals. Unfortunately, the body isn’t able to repair more than a very small amount of tooth damage on its own.

Lead researcher Paul Sharpe, a professor at the Dental Institute at King’s College in London, U.K., discovered that a drug called Tideglusib enhances the tooth’s natural repair ability.

  • A biodegradable collagen sponge containing a small dose of Tideglusib was placed over holes that the scientists drilled into the teeth of mice.
  • The sponge slowly degraded over a six week period.
  • New dentine replaced the sponge, causing a complete, wholly natural tooth repair.

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