The scientists at King’s College London who have been investigating a method of stimulating natural tooth repair by activating cells in the tooth to make new dentin for the past five years report that they have found further positive evidence that the technique has the potential to be translated into a direct clinical approach.
When teeth suffer damage by decay or trauma, the outer layer of enamel, the middle layer of dentin, and the soft inner layer of dental pulp all may be affected. Previous research has found that the drug Tideglusib could help protect the soft dental pulp by stimulating the production of dentin, allowing the tooth to repair itself.
To continue testing the viability of this method for use in patients, the scientists looked at whether the volume of reparative dentin produced is sufficient to repair cavities in human teeth. They also examined the range and, hence, safety of the drug used and whether the mineral composition of the reparative dentin sufficiently is similar to normal dentin to maintain the strength of the tooth.
The scientists say this study shows further evidence that the method could be successfully translated into clinical practice. They discovered that the repair area is highly restricted to pulp cells in the immediate location of the damage and that the root pulp is not affected.
Also, the scientists found that the mineral composition of the area of repair was significantly different from that of bone and more similar to normal dentine. They further found that the drug can activate repair in an area of dentin damage up to 10 times larger, mimicking the size of small lesions in humans.
“In the last few years, we showed that we can stimulate natural tooth repair by activating resident tooth stem cells. The approach is simple and cost effective. The latest results show further evidence of clinical viability and brings us another step closer to natural tooth repair,” said Paul Sharpe, director of the Centre of Craniofacial & Regenerative Biology at King’s College London.
The scientists note that human trials for this research are not anticipated to begin at this stage. They also are not currently seeking volunteers and are unable to offer this treatment at present. Additionally, they urge people with questions regarding dental work to contact their local dentist.
The study, “Translation Approach for Dentine Regeneration Using GSK-3 Antagonists,” was published by The Journal of Dental Research.