Within the inner most compartment of your teeth is a soft substance called pulp. Surrounding the pulp is the thin dentin layer that helps to seal it from exposure and infection. Dentin is naturally produced but is unfortunately not enough to repair large cavities on its own. That is why it is important to visit the dentist, to have cavities repaired before the pulp becomes infected. Dentists fill cavities with cement fillings, which work well to seal the hole but do not restore mineral balance to teeth.
A new method of regenerating dentin within teeth may be on the horizon, as researchers from the Dental Institute at King’s College in London have discovered that a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease may stimulate the stem cells within tooth pulp to begin regenerating teeth. This would allow teeth to repair small and potentially large cavities using natural stem cells within the pulp.
The Alzheimer’s drug and further research
The researchers used a molecule known as Tideglusib to regenerate the stem cells, which has been known for its ability to help treat Alzheimer’s disease. The treatment involves applying collagen sponges to teeth, which contain the chemicals that stimulate the stem cells to begin regenerating the tooth. So, while the treatment is promising, you will still need to come and see your dentist. You can rest easy though, knowing that you may soon be able to avoid the dental freezing needles. Researchers found that this new revolutionary treatment resulted in often complete repair and dentin restoration of even large cavities.
One of the lead researchers, Dr. Paul Sharpe, commented on the efficacy of the new treatment:
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 dentin.
If you are interested in reading more about this research: Promotion of natural tooth repair by small molecule GSK3 antagonists