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To be honest, I’ve been waiting my whole life to write those three words: teeth regenerate themselves. It’s such an amazing thing that hasn’t been thought possible, until today when a group of scientists have managed to make teeth repair themselves with the aid of stem cells and lasers.
Teeth are important not only because they help us chew food and support our face muscles, but gum health and heart disease have been linked in a recent study, which gives us a glimpse into how important teeth and gum health really are to our general health and well-being.
Teeth Regenerate Themselves in New Study
For the first time ever, a new study has revealed that teeth can regenerate themselves with the aid of stem cells and low-power lasers. The dentin in the teeth regenerated, brand new tissue was created. This lays the foundation for a plethora of new clinical applications for regenerating teeth and bones and healing wounds.
David J. Mooney, a family professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and his colleagues published the study in Science Translational Medicine.
The low-powered laser light is causing the human dental stem cells to create dentin, which is the hard tissue that makes up most of the teeth. It now only creates the bulk material, but also the fine molecular mechanisms that dentin has.
Right now, when stem cells are used, they are taken out of the body, manipulated and then put back inside the patient’s body. With laser, all this is avoided.
Holes were drilled into the molars of lab rats and then the holes were treated with adult stem cells and a low dosage of laser light. The holes were temporarily sealed and the animals were kept healthy. Twelve weeks later, Dr. Arany, an assistant clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, saw that the treatment worked and dentin was starting to form. Following the breakthrough, the team continued their experiments which lead to the discovery of a cell protein called TGF-β1 which plays a key role in triggering the stem cells to create dentin. TGF-β1 is an inactive protein that is activated when the light of the laser is applied.
This discovery confirms something which has been randomly reported over and over since the ‘60s: that laser can help rejuvenate skin, stimulate hair grown and even work wonders from time to time. This process is known as photobiomodulation. The same type of laser used to cause teeth to regenerate themselves, can be used to remove unwanted skin, hair and tissue. It all depends on how the laser is used.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Will teeth regenerate themselves in the future? Is this the future of dentistry? Drop us a line and tell us what you think.