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Mussels could help with treatment for sensitive teeth


Scientists in China are hopeful that they have found a cure for sensitive teeth, using the humble mussel; researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the Anhui Medical University have developed a ‘glue’ based on the way molluscs attach themselves to wet surfaces, which could help with enamel erosion by sealing up the exposed dentine tubules that cause sensitivity.

The team coated acid-eroded human teeth with a protein-based chemical similar to that which mussels produce, the teeth were then immersed in a mineral solution; the results showed that the ‘glue’ helped to form mineral crystals on the surface of the teeth and the inner dentine layer.

The study showed that eroded teeth that were coated with the ‘glue’ re-mineralised more effectively after they were immersed in a calcium and phosphate solution for a week, alongside teeth that were not treated with the new product. Researchers concluded that the organic chemical polydopamine, found in the mussel’s powerful adhesive, changes the tooth surface to stimulate mineral formation in the inner dentine layer.

Dr Cao Ying, a PhD dentistry student at the University of Hong Kong, said that ‘in the future, we may develop products with the chemical to be applied on sensitive teeth, or dentists might use it as a treatment.’ She also added that the minerals could be supplied from the patient’s own saliva or included in a mouthwash.

Chinese scientists develop human teeth using urine


Researchers in China have grown rudimentary teeth using the stem cells from human urine; the results of the breakthrough were published in the Cell Regeneration Journal and the team are hoping that this technique could pave the way for treating tooth loss permanently. Stem cells are a popular starting point for this kind of work because they can be grown into any type of bodily tissue and the team at the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health are using urine to collect these cells.

A mixture of the cells from urine and other material were implanted into animals and researchers said that after three weeks the bundle of cells began to resemble a tooth, explaining that ‘the tooth-like structure contained dental pulp, dentin, enamel space, and enamel organ.’ – although the new teeth were not as hard as real ones. As the experiments are just in the first stages, the team are hoping that further research will lead to ‘the final dream of total regeneration of human teeth for clinical therapy.’

However, scientists in the UK are not feeling as positive about the use of urine to rebuild teeth; Professor Chris Mason, a stem cell researcher at University College London, said that ‘[Urine] is probably one of the worst sources, there are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low. You just wouldn’t do it in this way.’ He also added ‘The big challenge here is that teeth have got a pulp with nerve and blood vessels which have to make sure they integrate to get permanent teeth.’

Dinosaurs may be first creatures to develop toothache


Scientists from China, the USA, and Canada have been studying the fossilised jawbone of a Sinosaurus and have discovered that the animal, presumed to have lived around 190 million years ago, could be the earliest creature to suffer with toothache. X-rays were taken of the teeth and it was found that some of them were damaged, possibly after the dinosaur bit into something hard.

Co-author of the report Xing LiDa told China Daily that ‘It was common for carnivorous dinosaurs to lose teeth, but this specimen we were studying was different. Its tooth socket was completely filled, which indicates the tooth loss was because of dental problems instead of external force.’ The skull was found in Lufeng Basin of the Yunnan province in 2007 and was expected to have 13 or 14 upper teeth, but was found to have several broken teeth still in the sockets. Zing explained the apparent damage, saying ‘When the dinosaur’s teeth were lost or removed while it was alive, the bony socket remodelled over time, so that there was no longer a tooth socket.’

The researchers also found that this kind of problem was common with mammals but not with reptiles, such as dinosaurs. Canadian Palaeontologist Phil R Bell suggested that the Sinosaurus might have damaged its teeth while eating hard nuts, he also added that ‘The study of disease and other abnormalities in the fossil record can reveal unique insights into the behaviour, biology and development of extinct animals. For example, among theropod dinosaurs, injury-related trauma like bites, exostoses, fractures, infection and stress fractures are the overriding cause of osteopathy.’

Chinese woman sues unlicensed dentist for £10,000


A mother from China is suing her dentist for compensation, claiming that her botched treatment has made her so ugly that her child is afraid of her and cries when she sees her smile. 33-year-old Xu Feng paid £1,200 to have twelve crowns fitted when she visited a clinic in Chongqing, central China, but not long after the procedure was carried out, she developed infections and abscesses around her teeth, and was left in constant pain.

Surgeons later revealed that the unlicensed dentist had reduced perfectly healthy teeth to stumps, leaving the nerve centre exposed and vulnerable to bacteria. Xu said of her ordeal; ‘Once the anaesthetic wore off, I was in more pain than I could ever have imagined.’ Thankfully, several certified dentists have stepped in to help out, removing the infected crowns and dealing with her pain so that she is at least able to function properly day to day, but Xu is still suffering the aftermath, saying ‘I look like a monster’, without the crowns covering her peg-like teeth. She added ‘I have a one-year-old daughter who won’t come near me if I open my mouth, and screams and cries until I close it. Those people stole my smile.’

Xu’s husband, Zhang Lu, has contacted a lawyer to negotiate with the unlicensed clinics owners, in the hopes that they can recover some funds to put the damage right; initially, the team are aiming at a compensation pay-out of around £10,000.

Girl’s plight highlights importance of properly-administered Botox


A girl was left with facial problems after trying to inject Botox herself. People considering Botox may be encouraged to do so through the proper channels after an incident involving a girl in China.

A college student referred to only as Xiaowei became upset about her classmates teasing her and decided to do something about it, What's on Xiamen reports.

Unfortunately, she chose to buy Botox over the internet and administer it herself, resulting in pustules and bumps all over her face.

A doctor said it is likely that the substance was fake and urged people not to do the same, as it could cause facial paralysis at worst and hives at best.

In August 2010, Scottish cosmetic surgeon Mr Darren McKeown said in an interview with the Scotsman that if Botox is administered properly, it should be invisible.

He criticised the look favoured by many celebrities, which results in people having over-arched eyebrows and a frozen forehead when they have had too much injected.

Dental implants ‘changed the industry’


The innovation of dental implants has helped thousands of people get new teeth.

Many previously incurable dental problems have been addressed by the introduction of dental implants, it has been stated.

Tooth Implants in Chicago has said that dental implants have become a mainstay of the industry, marking a sharp change from the previous options of dentures and bridges for those who suffered tooth loss.

Indeed, the company stated these devices are now seen as the best option for many patients to help resolve their issues, as dental implants provide a permanent and hard-wearing solution.

The firm noted that dental implants, once fixed, will act and feel like a real tooth.

Elsewhere, a woman in China recently had dental implants fitted as part of seven surgeries to help to rebuild her face after she suffered her entire life with a deformity.

Wang Na, 22, underwent hours of treatments where surgeons brought forward her cheekbones to provide greater support to the face and transplanted both her upper and lower jaws.

Dental implants help Chinese woman


A woman in China has had dental implants fitted.

A woman in China who suffered from a severe facial deformity has been given dental implants by physicians to help correct her problem.

Wang Na, 22, was able to eat solid food for the first time in her life after the operation – which also included bringing forward her cheekbones to provide greater support to the face and transplanting both her upper and lower jaw.

“Wang couldn’t speak clearly or eat solid food. She seldom made friends and never looked into the mirror,” commented Wang’s foster mother Li Jingyun.

The procedure was one of seven surgeries she underwent and was carried out at the Fourth Military Medical University in Xi’an.

Elsewhere, two-time Snooker World Champion Alex Higgins is also looking to have dental implants fitted after it emerged that the 61-year-old has suffered severe tooth loss as a result of radiotherapy he underwent to battle throat cancer.

The snooker legend has been forced to eat baby food and is said to be extremely weak and this is why his former PA Will Robinson is now trying to raise £20,000 to help him afford the surgery.

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