Ever since learning about the harm caused by mercury-based dental fillings, I have been on the lookout for a solution to the problem of cavities. When you think about the fact that we can heal and regrow bone within our body it is confusing as to why we don’t have a way to regrow our teeth when they become damaged.
While we can’t exactly put a cast on a broken tooth there is another newly discovered technology that is using laser light and stem cells to regrow teeth right inside of your mouth!
David Mooney from the Harvard’s Wyss Institute and his team recently published their results in the journal of Science Translational Medicine. Mooney’s team of researchers were able to create a technique with a low-powered laser that will actually stimulate stem cells into reforming the dentin layer of your tooth. Once the dentin is healed the tooth could be recapped and function like normal once more.
This new technology could be used within the field of dentistry to regrow teeth and in other scenarios to help heal wounds and even restore bones!
Why This Technology is so Incredible
The reason this new technology is so exciting is because it expedites the healing process. Typically when you are using stem cells you have to use specific proteins in order to get the cells to grow into the type of tissue that you need. Stem cells are master cells that in the right set and setting can grow into any part we need.
While this whole process sounds simple it is actually a delicate and highly regulated procedure that can take a lot of time and often has to be grown in a lab before being introduced back into the human body. In fact, many of the most successful uses of stem cell technology were grown in vitro and then transplanted into the person who needed it.
The new breakthrough creates an option to use stem cells much more quickly and right on the person trying to heal.
How this New Technology Works
David Mooney’s team simulated a dentist like scenario with rodents in a lab. The scientists drilled little holes in the rodents molars, which are similar to what happens in tooth decay, in order to heal them back up with stem cells.
While we don’t like the idea of animal testing it is important to understand that the main reason that stem cell research is done on animals may be because of the strong taboo around using our stem cells in the US. If you are looking for a healing clinic that will use these cells, which can be harvested and grown from your own adult stem cells, you will probably have to visit Mexico or another country with specialized healing clinics.
Essentially if stem cell healing was more widely accepted this technique could have been developed on people who already had tooth decay and volunteered for a clinical study.
After the rats had holes in their molar the scientists would then use adult stem cells on the pulp of the teeth. After that, a low-level, non-ionizing laser would be used to coax the cells into regrowing the dentin of the tooth.
The teeth would then be capped temporarily for 12 weeks while the healing took place. Follow-up X-rays revealed that the layer right under the enamel, known as dentin, had begun to grow back!
“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,” said Mooney in a press release. “It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.”
These images above show a high-res microscopic x-ray image of the results. The yellow pound signs are placed where the scientists observed new dentin growth. In this comparison, the Laser was able to regrow the tissue faster than the control example.
Because of the dentin bridge healing patterns in humans compared to rats the scientists believe that they would see much better results on human teeth.
“This is one of those rare cases where it would be easier to do this work on a human.” -Mooney
On top of this good news for the world of stem cell research are the implications for the world of laser healing. Instead of a hot laser that can burn you, these low-level lasers are being used all over the medical world in order to stimulate the growth of mitochondria and regrow cells. I have personally benefited from them and people with muscle injuries, carpal tunnel, and other healing issues are starting to see the benefits of these light frequency technologies as well.
Let us know in the comments below what you think about the results and if you would go to a dentist who was regrowing teeth from your own stem cells instead of being drilled for a filling.