Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gel That Regenerates Tooth Tissue Could Replace Fillings

After testing their idea on cell cultures and laboratory mice, scientists in France suggest that a new biomaterial shown to regenerate bone could be used as a gel inserted in tooth cavities to encourage tooth regeneration, thus avoiding the need to drill and fill the teeth.
Benkirane-Jessel told the press that the purpose of the gel would be to control cavities after they develop, it was not like toothpaste, so people would still need to keep brushing and flossing to prevent the cavities in the first place, reported Discovery News.
Dentists save millions of teeth every year by drilling and filling and doing root canal therapy, and there is a high rate of success in such procedures, but the researchers hypothesized that a better approach might be to remove decayed or diseased dental pulp and replace it with healthy tissue that revitalizes teeth.
For the patient this could be an attractive alternative because it would mean no more drilling: just a quick dab of gel on the infected tooth and it would heal from within, said Berkirane-Jessel. However, the researchers also said the method would probably only work for a small number of cases: most cavities would still have to be drilled and filled.
The researchers decided to try a version of a peptide called MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone), that had already been shown to regenerate bone. The version they used is called PGA-a-MSH, a chemical combination of poly-l-glutamic acid (PGL) and alpha-MSH.
They tested the biomaterial on cultures of human dental pulp fibroblasts, the cells that produce the collagen and other extra-cellular materials that form the structure of new tissue, and found it had "potential effects in promoting human pulp fibroblast adhesion and cell proliferation".
They concluded that:
"Our results indicated clearly that, by using PGA-a-MSH, we increase not only the viability of cells but also the proliferation."
When they did a nanoscale examination of the new tissue using atomic force microscopy they found an increase in the thickness and roughness of its structure that was consistent with an "increase of the proliferation of the cells growing on the surface of these architectures".


"We report here the first use of nanostructured and functionalized multilayered films containing a-MSH as a new active biomaterial for endodontic regeneration," they added.
Benkirane-Jessel also said they tested the new film on mouse tooth cavities, and that within a month the cavities had disappeared, reported Discovery News.

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