So far, I've managed to avoid the unpleasant experience of having my dentist drill into a tooth to fill a cavity or perform a root canal. And, now there's a possibility I may never have to know such discomfort.
A new gel containing a peptide known as MHS, or melanocyte-stimulating hormone, encourages cells inside teeth to regenerate and could one day eliminate the need for dentists to drill into a tooth to remove decay. That's according to findings published in the journal ACS Nano.
Popular Science reports:
A dentist would place a dab of the gel near a cavity, where it would encourage cells to grow, healing the tooth from within...A team of French scientists tested the gel on mice that had cavities. After about a month, the cavities had disappeared...Not only did new tooth cells grow, but they were also stronger...
Along with preventing drill-related discomfort, tooth regeneration could have physiological benefits. Drilling into teeth can destroy nerve cells and blood vessels, so replacing dead or diseased cells with new tissue would be a dramatic improvement.
Keep in mind that it will be a while before such technology is routine in dentist offices. So the best way to evade the dreaded dentist drill is regular brushing and flossing.
Photo by Conor Lawless