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No More Fillings? Scientists Discover a Drug That Regenerates Damaged Teeth

Jan 11, 2017 08:06 AM EST
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Getting fillings can be a nightmare. Now you might not have to, thanks to the work of a group of researchers at the King's College London.

According to an official report from the King's College London, the team discovered that regeneration is possible for damaged teeth, using the Tidesglusib drug that's used in clinical trials for various neurological issues including Alzheimer's disease.

When the teeth gets infected or damaged, the inner pulp can be compromised. Some dentine is naturally produced by the body to protect itself, but it's not enough to fix large cavities. To compensate, dentists use artificial fillings or cement. These man-made materials do not disintegrate though, and thus fail to bring back the normal mineral levels of the teeth. They also need to be replaced constantly.

The new study's findings address the limitations of artificial fillings by stimulating the natural regeneration of new dentine in large cavities. The researchers were able to do this by activating stem cells located in the soft pulp of the teeth. This method includes the use of Tideglusib.

"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," lead author Paul Sharpe, professor at King's College London, said. "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."

According to a report from The Guardian, the team did trials on mice and used biodegradable sponges that contained Tideglusib. They filled the defects with this solution until the tooth rebuilt itself.

"The tooth is not just a lump of mineral, it's got its own physiology," Sharpe explained. "You're replacing a living tissue with an inert cement. Fillings work fine, but if the tooth can repair itself, surely [that's] the best way. You're restoring all the vitality of the tooth."

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