Did you ever happen to break a tooth while chewing down on something? This is a common problem for many people which requires a trip to the dentist and is usually resolved with a dental filling. However, you should know that scientists have discovered a new way which seeks to replace tooth fillings in the future.
Recently, scientists from the King’s College of London conducted a research in which they discovered that a common Alzheimer’s drug can stimulate the development of stem cells in the oral pulp and generate new dentin in the teeth, which makes dental fillings obsolete. In this way, the drug can actually make your teeth repair itself!
When a tooth is damaged by an infection or breakage, a thin layer of dentin grows around the rupture in order to protect the area and seal off the internal tissue. However, this layer can’t protect deep breaks and ruptures, which is why they’re closed off with artificial fillings. However, even fillings don’t always work – sometimes, an infection may affect the root under the filling, which needs to be replaced again and again until the tooth dies off and needs to be removed.
Luckily, this new procedure can help the tooth repair itself. The procedure involves putting a small sponge of biodegradable collagen into the hole – this collagen is also the base of a common Alzheimer’s disease drug which inhibits the activity of the GSK-3 enzyme. This enzyme prevents the formation of dentin, but as it’s action is blocked, the collagen sponge manages to stimulate the production of large amounts of dentin which closes the hole in your tooth.
This is a groundbreaking discovery which provides hope for the future of dental restoration. Although it has only been tested on mice, and there have been no human trials yet, scientists are pretty optimistic and believe that the procedure could help even broken teeth regrow themselves. If the GSK-3 inhibitor is approved for human trials, we can look forward to no more fillings and the dreaded sound of the dental hand piece.