When a tooth is damaged, either by severe decay or trauma, the living tissues that comprise the sensitive inner dental pulp become exposed and vulnerable to harmful bacteria. Once infection takes hold, few treatment options–primarily root canals or tooth extraction–are available to alleviate the painful symptoms.
Researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (TUSDM) now show that using a collagen-based biomaterial to deliver stem cells inside damaged teeth can regenerate dental pulp-like tissues in animal model experiments. The study, published online in the Journal of Dental Research on Dec. 15, supports the potential of this approach as part of a strategy for restoring natural tooth functionality.
“Endodontic treatment, such as a root canal, essentially kills a once living tooth. It dries out over time, becomes brittle and can crack, and eventually might have to be replaced with a prosthesis,” said senior study author Pamela Yelick, PhD, professor at TUSDM and director of its Division of Craniofacial and Molecular Genetics. “Our findings validate the potential of an alternative approach to endodontic treatment, with the goal of regenerating a damaged tooth so that it remains living and functions like any other normal tooth.”
To view the full story, please visit: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-12/tuhs-nsc121916.php