Did you know that cavities are considered one of the world’s most common health problems? Dental fillings are so common that almost all of us have experienced the dentist’s chair to fill a cavity – once or more.
It may soon be a thing of the past however, thanks to a drug that was discovered during Alzheimer’s research. By soaking a small biodegradable sponge with the new drug and inserting it into a cavity, the damage can be repaired within six weeks. Read on to find out about this amazing research from King’s College London!
First of all, what causes cavities?
Cavities are caused by tooth decay, beginning with plaque build-up. We all know about dental plaque. It’s that clear sticky film that coats your teeth, especially after eating foods containing sugars and starches and not cleaning your teeth well.
But it is the acids in plaque then cause tiny holes in the enamel – the initial stage of cavities. Once areas of enamel are worn away, the bacteria and acid can reach the next much softer layer of your teeth, called dentin. Now the tooth is in real peril and the cavity can grow quickly.
What is the breakthrough and how does it work?
The breakthrough drug was discovered while treating Alzheimer’s disease. It was found that it can actually stimulate stem cells in the pulp of teeth, promoting new dentin.
Although teeth can regenerate dentine naturally, the amount of regeneration is limited to a thin layer, not enough to repair deep cavities – and it only happens under exact circumstances. The pulp must be exposed through infection (such as decay) or trauma to prompt the manufacture of dentin.
The amazing effect of Tideglusib is to speed and aid in the repair of a decayed tooth.
What does this look like?
The application method scientists have developed involves soaking a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it repairs the damage within six weeks. The sponges melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.
“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 dentine,” said Professor Paul Sharpe, lead author of the Dental Institute study which was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Currently, dentists use man-made fillings to treat cavities but these fail to disintegrate, meaning the mineral level of the tooth is never completely restored. The new technique could reduce the need for fillings altogether.
The future looks bright
Although still not a reality for today’s dental patients, “using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics,” said Professor Sharpe. With new discoveries like this, the future of dental treatment seems bright.
Downtown Dental Group is committed to providing confidence and comfort one smile at a time. We welcome you to book an appointment today.