11 Jan

Could a new dental repair drug spell the end of fillings?

shutterstock_535946473Scientists from King’s College London are hopeful that a new tooth repair drug could spell the end for fillings. A team of researchers has discovered that chemicals contribute to the repair of small cavities in mice teeth, and there are high hopes that the same results could be achieved in humans.
The study, which has been published in Scientific Reports, documents trials using a drug called Tideglusib. Researchers soaked a sponge in the drug, and then evaluated the impact on mice. They found that the drug contributed to “complete, effective, natural repair” of small holes in mice teeth. The drug was found to increase the activity of stem cells within the tooth pulp, which resulted in the restoration of holes measuring 0.13mm. Researchers found that once the sponge that was inserted into the cavity broke down, it was substituted by the dentine, and this resulted in an accelerated healing process.
Researcher Prof Paul Sharpe, claimed that the key aspect was the biodegradable sponge. The sponge disintegrates, and the space it leaves becomes filled with important minerals, which enables the dentine to regenerate. The outcome is a repaired cavity, and nothing left behind, which could cause problems further down the line.
The team is now hoping to investigate whether the method could be adopted to repair larger, deeper holes.
Prof Sharpe is hopeful that the treatment could be available in the next 3-5 years, such is the speed of development of regenerative medicine. Tideglusib has already trialled as a treatment for dementia.