Regenerative dental fillings? What?? In a widely distributed publication, Popular Science, announced in July that Harvard University and University of Nottingham researchers are working on ways that regenerative medicine can help with oral healthcare. Specifically, their research team is working on a regenerative dental filling composed of stem cell material that could give damaged teeth the stimuli needed to heal themselves, reducing the failure rate of fillings and the majority of root canals. Learn about this exciting new research and technology and how it could transform your dental experience in the future.
So, what is all the excitement about, exactly? A concept called regenerative dental fillings are creating quite a stir in the dental community–both among doctors and patients! To understand the impact of the regenerative dental fillings, it helps to understand why root canal therapy becomes necessary in the first place. Tooth decay or injuries can cause damage to your tooth enamel. If this decay (or damage) spreads to the pulp of the tooth (the live tissue that houses your nerve endings and blood vessels that nourish your tooth) it can cause serious, painful symptoms and even loss of the tooth entirely. Root canal therapy is used to save the decayed tooth from extraction. Your dentist removes the decayed/infected pulp and the tooth can stay intact without spreading infection to the surrounding teeth and gums.
So, instead of using the traditional approach to correcting damage to the pulp of a tooth, researchers at Harvard and the University of Nottingham aim to use a healthier, more natural approach. Current dental materials introduce filling materials that are toxic to cells. This new treatment approach recruits the healing powers of stem cells instead. Researchers told CBS News: “What we found is a material that can potentially regenerate components of a patient’s tooth. . . .We’re trying to provide an alternative material, an alternative therapy because the current method involves the dentist removing all of the infected pulp tissue.”
Regenerative tooth fillings are designed to stimulate the native stem cells inside your teeth instigating the repair and regeneration of pulp tissues in the injured or decaying tooth. The researchers also hope that they will be able to regenerate dentin–the protective layer that lies on top of pulp tissue. Dentin acts as a protective wall between the nourishing blood vessels and cells in the soft tissue and the enamel that contains it. CBS News chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jon LaPook, described the regenerative tooth fillings process like this: “The cells in the area of a root canal, in the pulp, those are normally asleep. It’s like this material goes over and just taps it on the shoulder and says, ‘Wake up, wake up,’ and then it starts to repair itself.”
The science and concepts behind regenerative tooth fillings are very exciting to the dental science community, but we are years away from it being available for patients. Incorporating regenerative medicine in the dental field could bring amazing changes to oral health and to how we treat teeth in general, but, for now, we have to be patient.
Our team at Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies is dedicated to staying educated and trained on and in the most recent advances currently available from dental science and technology. We want your patient experience to be the best it can be. When you choose Family and Cosmetic Dentistry of the Rockies as your dental home you can have the peaceful assurance that we will take care of you and your needs efficiently, safely, and comfortably.
Know your options. When it comes to the kinds of material available for your restoration, we guarantee the best. After a comprehensive examination, and discussion with you on your goals, we can work together to determine if dental treatment is necessary at this time. Whether you’re unsure about the right treatment solution or concerned about financing and insurance, our office wants to hear from you. Call our Fort Collins office today at (970) 223-6101, and our patient liaison will be happy to answer your questions or place an appointment at your request. You can also send a contact or appointment request online using the form below at your convenience.