Dentists may soon not have to drill a cavity out of a tooth. A new peptide that is in a flexible film or a soft gel and the placed against the cavity actually encourages the cells that are in the tooth to regenerate after approximately a month. The new film or gel might eliminate the need to drill in the root canal of an infected tooth or painfully fill cavities.
It’s different than toothpaste. In this case they are actually trying to control the cavity. Drilling a tooth and filling it is effective and effective. There are millions of cavities filled every year by dentists across the US. But, although the dentist numbs the tooth, most dental patients still hate the sound of the drill.
This new research may make a visit to the dentist much more pleasant. Rather than using a drill to remove the cavity, a quick application of a film or of gel next to a tooth having a cavity may allow the tooth to heal from within.
Cavities are pus and bacteria filled holes in a tooth that can lead to tooth loss or at the very least pain and discomfort. When people don’t have the proper oral hygiene or eat sugary snacks or acidic foods the bacteria begins to eat away at the minerals inside the tooth as well as the protective enamel. The result is a cavity.
This film or gel has a peptide it called Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH). In previously conducted experiments it was determined that MSH encouraged the bone to regenerate. Teeth and bone are somewhat similar, so it was reasoned that if the MSH were applied to teeth, it might help them to heal as well.
To test the theory, the either the gel or film both having the MSH was applied to mice teeth that were filled with cavities. After approximately a month, the cavities disappeared.
It should be noted that the gels and films that have the MSH only treat the cavities, they don’t prevent cavities. People should still use mouthwash, floss, and brush to help prevent the formation of cavities.
Treating a cavity without having to drill would definitely be advantageous. Drilling and cavities may destroy the blood vessels and nerves that are inside a tooth which make it more brittle and more likely to fracture. The ability to regenerate a tooth might help to a crown after filling the cavity.
However, the regeneration of a tooth from within could only be done in a relatively small number of cases. Meanwhile, patients shouldn’t reduce their oral hygiene. It will take many clinical trials over many years before the films or gels that have MSH will become available for the treatment of human cavities.