Healing Cavities With The Sci-Fi Of Regenerative Medicine:
One of the problems we all face at one time or another is parts of us fail or wear-out.
But the ability science now has to create things like stem-cells are accelerating a new branch of health called regenerative-medicine.
And an early experience we all have with parts wearing-out is going to the dentist.
Well, a U. Washington team just came up with a new procedure that’s just like a stem-cell “patch” for your teeth,
And it uses a similar process to make those dentist visits a thing of the past…
Just Like Nature Builds Them:
So one of the things stem-cell-based medicine does is to try to get your body to repair itself.
And hopefully, this happens in just the same way it was built-up in the first place.
That’s the concept that Mehmet Sarikaya’s team borrowed.
How can we get the body to patch the holes in teeth we call cavities in a way as close to how they were built at the beginning?
Reversing Cavities The Way Your Enamel Forms In The First Place:
So the enamel on teeth is formed while they’re still under the gums by special factory-cells called amelo-blasts.
They make a special kind of protein that sticks onto your teeth and turns into the hard outer coating called Enamel.
The problem is that Mother Nature didn’t really think ahead about maintenance, and we lose our enamel-factory cells after our adult teeth are formed.
So the UW researchers thought, “Ok, if we can’t have the cells, can we figure out what they make and copy that?”
-Which they did in a special shortened-protein called a Peptide.
No More Fillings! -Or High-Speed Drills!:
So they put that nature-derived copycat into a treatment-gel,
Took some experimental lab-teeth with test-cavities in them,
And tried it out.
Boom! -Between 0.5% and 5% of brand-new enamel was put down right onto the problem-spot.
Which for a non-filling fix is Huge.
But wait, it gets better. That amount of new enamel was laid-down Each Time they re-treated the cavity.
So potentially, you could just get a very special toothpaste from your dentist or even CVS,
And the old Drill & Fill will be a thing of the past!
Not The First:
Now this is not the first shot at “healing” cavities by using the same materials.
And they try to rebuild your tooth-enamel with a very-small version of the exact same stuff it’s made out-of, whose short-name is HA.
Still The Best Idea So-Far:
Harvard researchers may have figured out how to patch holes in teeth with Frickin’ Laser Beams,
OrTek may have come up with a different way of getting enamel-elements like Calcium-Phosphate back into your teeth with their CaviStat magic that used to be in mints, but is now in soft-chews called Basic Bites,
And Tokyo University figured out how to grow entirely-new teeth using nothing but stem-cells.
But so-far, Washington University is looking like the first team to come up with the holy-grail cavity-reversing formula, using that bio-mimetic theme in many amazing regenerative-med fixes.
Photo Credits: “I IS VAMPIRE KITTEH! HISSS“, by Flickr User Stratman2
• Source: WU
• Source Study: ACS, BioMaterials – Biomimetic Tooth Repair: Amelogenin-Derived Peptide Enables in Vitro Remineralization of Human Enamel