A visit to the dentist may soon involve a lot less drilling and filling. A brand new technology could eliminate the need to have cavities drilled or filled. A new peptide is placed in a soft gel or flexible film and inserted next to a cavity. This peptide encourages the cells to regenerate within about a month, the ACS Nano reports.
Unlike toothpaste which can be used to prevent cavities, this development is to control the cavities after they occur. Nadia Benikrane-Jessel is a scientist at the Institut National de la Sane et de la Recherché Medicale, says “This new research could make a trip to the dentist’s office more pleasant.”Instead of a drill the dentist will just have to place a dab of gel or a thin film against the infected tooth to promote healing from the inside.
The causes of cavities vary; they can be caused by certain foods, sugary drinks or lack of dental hygiene. But the resulting pain is the all the same. Bacteria and pus filled holes in or on your tooth that lead to discomfort, bad breath, and pain. Similarly until now the treatment of cavities has been the same. Drill out the damaged tooth to remove the decay and fill the hole to keep the cavity from growing.
Doctor Benikrane-Jessel cautions people that the films or gels only treat existing cavities, they do not prevent cavities from forming and that people will still need to use good dental hygiene to prevent cavities to begin with.
The peptide contained in the gel or films is known as MSH or melanocyte-stimulating hormone.
Studies conducted and reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that MSH stimulates and encourages bone regeneration. Because bones and teeth are so similar, scientists reasoned that if the MSH were applied to damaged teeth it should also promote the healing.
Hom-Lay Wang a dentist at the University of Michigan said” Treating cavities without drilling would have its advantages”. Cavities and drilling can cause nerve damage and even destroy nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth making it more fragile and brittle. By regenerating a tooth, people could avoid needing crowns after a cavity has been filled or repaired.