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Ingeniously Simple Dental Treatment Could Heal Tooth Cavities Without Any Fillings

Discussion in 'Hospital' started by The Good Doctor, Jul 6, 2021.

  1. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Golden Member

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    Scientists have invented a product that can encourage tooth enamel to grow back, which means we could finally have a game-changing way to treat dental cavities.

    In 2018, researchers at the University of Washington announced the development of a treatment based on peptides - short chains of amino acids, linked by peptide bonds, that aren't long enough to be considered full proteins.

    When applied to artificially created dental lesions in a laboratory setting, the product remineralized tooth enamel, effectively "healing" the lesion.

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    "Remineralization guided by peptides is a healthy alternative to current dental health care," said materials scientist Mehmet Sarikaya.

    Tooth enamel is produced by a type of cell called an ameloblast; these secrete the proteins that form enamel while the tooth is still in the gum.

    Unfortunately, once the process of forming tooth enamel is complete and the tooth has emerged, our ameloblasts die off. But we continue to lose enamel throughout our lifetime.

    "Bacteria metabolize sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates in oral environments and acid, as a by-product, will demineralize the dental enamel," said dentistry researcher Sami Dogan.

    To a small extent, our teeth can be remineralized with the help of saliva, fluoride toothpaste and drinking water additives.

    But once there's a visible cavity on the tooth, it needs to be treated by a dentist - which usually means drilling, and packing the hole with a dental filling.

    To develop their new treatment, the team turned to one of the proteins produced by ameloblasts. Called amelogenins, these proteins play a key role in regulating the formation of tooth enamel.

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