Could fillings become a thing of the past?
Scientists may have potentially discovered a way to banish fillings into the history books, after new research showed promising results. The drug, Tideglusib, has been used in trials for Alzheimer’s patients, but has also shown the potential to repair cavities and stimulate the regrowth of teeth.
The discovery was made by researchers at King’s College London. The findings showed that the drug caused stimulation of the stem cells that are present in the tooth pulp, which in turn generated the production of new dentine underneath the enamel. The teeth can naturally regenerate dentine when the pulp undergoes trauma, however this is only ever a very thin layer, therefore would not be enough to make big repairs, such as a cavity. The new drug is said to disengage a certain enzyme known as GSK-3, which prevents the dentine layer from continuously forming. With this enzyme continuously working, the teeth are potentially enabled to rebuild and re-grow.
Scientists showed results from experiments undertaken, where a small piece of biodegradable sponge was soaked in the drug and inserted into the decayed area of the tooth. This triggered natural tooth growth and the cavity was fully repaired within six weeks. Although in the early stages, these new findings are very promising for the future of dentistry and dental health.