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posted by martyb on Thursday January 12 2017, @06:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the something-to-chew-on dept.

King's College London researchers have found a method of stimulating the stem cells inside of teeth in order to generate new dentine mineral, potentially reducing the need to use man-made materials to treat cavities:

A new method of stimulating the renewal of living stem cells in tooth pulp using an Alzheimer's drug has been discovered by a team of researchers at King's College London. Following trauma or an infection, the inner, soft pulp of a tooth can become exposed and infected. In order to protect the tooth from infection, a thin band of dentine is naturally produced and this seals the tooth pulp, but it is insufficient to effectively repair large cavities. Currently dentists use man-made cements or fillings, such as calcium and silicon-based products, to treat these larger cavities and fill holes in teeth. This cement remains in the tooth and fails to disintegrate, meaning that the normal mineral level of the tooth is never completely restored.

However, in a paper published today in Scientific Reports, scientists from the Dental Institute at King's College London have proven 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, potentially reducing the need for fillings or cements.

Promotion of natural tooth repair by small molecule GSK3 antagonists (open, DOI: 10.1038/srep39654) (DX)

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @09:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12 2017, @09:07PM (#453069)

    It's soft tissue, but it has to connect to the tooth. That's the primary issue.

    I can understand why you're posting AC, it's controversial around here to acknowledge that the gums are pretty much the only thing that matters here. Without fixing the gums, there's not much point in fixing the teeth back to new in most cases. Teeth rarely get pulled because of severe cavities, they get pulled because the gums and jaw no longer secure them adequately.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Grishnakh on Thursday January 12 2017, @10:46PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday January 12 2017, @10:46PM (#453106)

    Perhaps a stem cell treatment could be applied to the gums to get them to regrow?

    Also, they're not talking about making teeth regrow from nothing, they're talking about getting existing teeth to regrow themselves to eliminate cavities (caries), so that you don't need to get a filling. It'd be great if they could make all-new teeth regrow themselves in places where people are missing them, but from TFS it looks like they're shooting for a much easier target, just making existing teeth self-repair.