The usual remedy for a cavity is a filling, but a smart new biomaterial is changing the game – encouraging pulp stem cells to repair the teeth
With a failure rate of around 10-15%, fillings are an inadequate solution to cavity ridden teeth. Researchers from Harvard and the University of Nottingham are working on a solution that involves stimulating stem cells present within the tooth to proliferate and harden; repairing the cavity and improving dental hygiene.
What is the new technique?
Biomaterials are continuously evolving, aiming to complement and encourage beneficial cellular activity. Previous work has shown that low power laser exposure can trigger stem cell activity in teeth, indicating that these dental pulp stem cells retain a capacity for repair under the right conditions. The latest work consists of applying a synthetic biomaterial to a cavity (which bagged a prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s emerging technologies competition). This material encourages stem cell activity and in combination with UV light exposure, stem cells proliferate, differentiate, and form new dentin. Dentin forms the bulk of your average tooth inside the enamel coating.
“Stem cells are rapidly becoming a focus for the restoration of function and aesthetics in dentistry”
Read more at The Washington Post