Researchers at King’s College London discovered a way to regrow the sensitive inner tooth pulp of patients by filling cavities with biodegradable sponges containing medication initially designed to fight Alzheimer’s Disease.
This could mean a trip to the dentist with no need for drilling.
Large cavities are a problem when the hard dentine is breached, leading to exposure and damage to the nerve and blood filled inner tooth pulp.
Dentists currently resort to human-made fillings that remain in the tooth but are not absorbed, meaning that the damage is never fully healed. Sometimes fillings have to be replaced by removing larger volumes of tooth, and if it complicates further the tooth itself would need to be extracted.
Researchers from the Dental Institute at King’s College London proved new dentine can be regrown by stimulating stem cells, potentially doing away with the need for fillings.
Collagen sponges are already clinically approved whilst glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3), the molecule promoting stem cell growth, is originally included in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s.
Professor Paul Sharpe from King’s College London said: “The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.
“In addition, 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.”