Stem Cell Fillings Could ‘Put an End to Root Canals’
Allowing teeth to regrow themselves
Dental fillings with stem cell technology have recently been announced by researchers, which could put an end to root canals forever. This technology allows to teeth to regenerate, building up new, healthy teeth.
The technology, developed by the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and the Wyss Institute at Harvard, uses stem cells to help your teeth actually regrow. Using the technology, it stimulates dentin, the material your teeth are made out of of, and encourages them to form anew.
This could be an amazing breakthrough for anyone who despises sitting in the dental chair and having their teeth drilled–which is likely anyone and everyone.
This method could also be used to treat cavities, as the current method used actually damages the existing tooth as it helps restore it for practical use. Currently, the decayed part of the tooth is drilled out, and then a filling is put in place. This new technology would allow people to essentially regrow the decayed portions of their teeth, eliminating the need for the dreaded dental drill.
Adam Celiz of the University of Nottingham stated:
“Existing dental fillings are toxic to cells and are therefore incompatible with pulp tissue inside the tooth. In cases of dental pulp disease and injury a root canal is typically performed to remove the infected tissues.
We have designed synthetic biomaterials that can be used similarly to dental fillings but can be placed in direct contact with pulp tissue to stimulate the native stem cell population for repair and regeneration of pulp tissue and the surrounding dentin.”
The research picked up second prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2016, showing a real need and desire for such an amazing technology.
Currently, scientists are working within the dental industry to help bring the technology to mainstream dental clinics, but it may take a while before you’re offered a stem cell filling over a regular one.
Kyle Viving of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University said of their new technology:
“We are excited about the promise of therapeutic biomaterials for bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry.”
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.