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Friday, August 27, 2010

Tooth Regeneration Gel Brings New Technological Breakthrough For Painless Fillings

Who likes visiting the dentist? Every appointment with the dentist is associated with painful visions of the dental drill which is probably the most feared instrument in the dental clinic -- next to the “injection." The recent discovery of a new tooth regeneration gel, which encourages the regeneration of a tooth, could lead to the dentists hanging up their drills and replacing painful fillings with painless fillings.

Scientists in France conducted studies on a new biomaterial that showed the capacity to regenerate bone. They also found that it could be used as a gel and inserted into tooth cavities to encourage tooth regeneration, therefore avoiding the need to drill and fill them. They successfully tested this on cell cultures and laboratory mice which has opened up the prospects for painless fillings with the help of this tooth regeneration gel.

Dental DrillAccording to their study, the new peptide, embedded in a gel or thin flexible film when placed next to a cavity encouraged the cells inside s tooth to regenerate in about a month's time. This study is the work of Dr. Nadia Benkirane-Jessel, a scientist at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) Faculty of Medicine in Strasbourg, France and the technology is the first of its kind that was published online in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano on 27 May.

Dental Drill Will No Longer Be Feared

So far, dentists have been treating and saving millions of decayed tooth cavities by drilling, filling and performing root canal therapies with a high rate of success. But it would definitely be better if the decayed and diseased portions of the teeth could be removed and replaced with a material that would encourage regeneration of the pulp, thus retaining the vitality of the tooth. This technology is indeed a great breakthrough for the dental community and patients at large.

The Study

The biomaterial being studied is a peptide called MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone) and the version that is being used is called PGA-a-MSH, which is a chemical combination of poly-l-glutamic acid (PGL) and alpha-MSH. The researchers tested this new peptide on cultures of human dental pulp fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) and found it to have "potential effects in promoting human pulp fibroblast adhesion and cell proliferation."

“Benkirane-Jessel stated that the purpose of the gel would be to control cavities after they develop. It was not like toothpaste, so people would still need to keep brushing and flossing to prevent the cavities in the first place," reported Discovery News.

“Treating cavities without drilling would have its advantages," said Hom-Lay Wang, a dentist at the University of Michigan. “Cavities and drilling can destroy the nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth, making it more brittle and likely to fracture. Regenerating a tooth could help avoid crowns after a cavity has been filled.”

The researchers concluded that, "by using PGA-a-MSH, we increase not only the viability of cells but also the proliferation."

When they did a nanoscale examination of the new tissue using atomic force microscopy, they found an increase in the thickness and roughness of its structure that was consistent with an "increase of the proliferation of the cells growing on the surface of these architectures."

"We report here the first use of nanostructured and functionalized multilayered films containing a-MSH as a new active biomaterial for endodontic regeneration," they added.

Benkirane-Jessel also said they tested the new film on mouse tooth cavities, and that within a month, the cavities had disappeared, reported Discovery News. However, numerous clinical trials still need to be conducted that may take several years to be completed before the MSH-containing gels or films is available to treat cavities in humans.

Also, researchers reiterated that the new peptide gel would work only for small number of cases, so most cavities would still need to be drilled and filled. But, patients can rejoice, for this study and technology brings in a new hope that there may come a time when the dental drill becomes a thing of the past, and a simple dab of the painless gel would heal cavities.

Source: Discovery News

Original article posted on Xomba

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