Scientists use lasers to re-grow teeth

2014-06-02 12:57
Dental surgery

Dental surgery (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Washington - Scientists have come up with a bright idea, literally to repair teeth.

And they say their concept; using laser light to entice the body's own stem cells into action may offer enormous promise beyond just dentistry in the field of regenerative medicine.

The researchers used a low-power laser to coax dental stem cells to form dentin, the hard tissue similar to bone that makes up most of a tooth, demonstrating the process in studies involving rats and mice and using human cells in a laboratory.

 
They did not regenerate an entire tooth in part because the enamel part was too tricky. But merely getting dentin to grow could help alleviate the need for root canal treatment, the painful procedure to remove dead or dying nerve tissue and bacteria from inside a tooth, they said.

"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 US national institutes of health, said on Friday.

Arany expressed hope that human clinical trials could get approval in the near future.

Master cells

"Our treatment modality does not introduce anything new to the body, and lasers are routinely used in medicine and dentistry, so the barriers to clinical translation are low", added Harvard University bioengineering professor David Mooney.

"It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them."

Using existing regeneration methods, scientists must take stem cells from the body, manipulate them in a lab and put them back into the body. This new technique more simply stimulates action in stem cells that are already in place.

Scientists had long noticed that low-level laser therapy can stimulate biological processes like rejuvenating skin and stimulating hair growth but were not sure of the mechanisms.

Arany noted the importance of finding the right laser dose, saying: "Too low doesn't work and too high causes damage." High-powered lasers are used for cutting and cauterizing.

The researchers found that laser exposure of the tooth at the right low intensity prompted certain chemically active, oxygen-containing molecules to activate a cell protein known to be involved in development, healing and immune functions.

This protein in turn directed stem cells present in tooth pulp to turn into dentin. Stem cells are master cells that are capable of transforming into various types of tissues in the body.

The researchers drilled holes in the molars of the rodents, zapped the tooth pulp with the laser and put on temporary caps, then watched as dentin formed over a period of 12 weeks.

The question is whether using this method could get other stem cells to become useful in laser-induced regenerative medicine.

Arany said he was hopeful it could be used in healing wounds, regenerating cardiac tissue, dealing with inflammation issues and fixing bone damage, among other applications.

Read more on:    us  |  stem cells  |  health  |  technology
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power dominates and can help you to uncover things from a deeper level, but it can also create entanglements if you let your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.