Photo credit: Arany PR et al.
Need a filling? How would you like to book a 5-minute dental appointment that allows your dentist to regrow your natural tooth?
This could all be very possible soon thanks to the Harvard-led team that successfully used low-powered lights to coax stem cells to form new dentine – the hard core of the tooth.
Stem cells are “master cells” that exist throughout the body. They have the ability to differentiate to other types of cells – which means that they have the potential to replace or repair damaged tissues.
Scientists have long theorized that low-level laser therapy can trigger biological processes like stimulation of hair growth and skin rejuvenation but were unclear about the mechanisms. This is the first time this process has been demonstrated and observed.
“I’m a dentist by training. So I think it has potential for great impact in clinical dentistry,” researcher Praveen Arany of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
This new technique could prevent the necessity for fillings and may possibly replace pricey root canal treatments in the future.
Although the experiments have only been made on rats in their lab, their findings offer a giant leap for both dentistry and regenerative medicine.
Dr. Dusko Ilic, Senior Lecturer Cell Science, King’s College London said, “The approach seems to be pretty straightforward and although it sounds high tech, the technology is not prohibitively expensive.”
“Quite contrary, it is low cost.”
The results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.