Published on January 23, 2017

Bye-bye fillings?

Bye-bye fillings?

The days of repairing tooth decay with fillings made from metal amalgam, or composites of powdered glass and ceramic could be over sooner than what we thought.

Researchers at King’s College London have found that a drug named Tideglusib could encourage cells in the dental pulp to heal small holes by generating new dentine. Teeth can currently produce a very thin band of dentine if the inner dental pulp becomes exposed, however this cannot repair deep cavities of tooth decay.

The team at King’s College London showed this was possible by soaking a biodegradable sponge in the drug, inserting it into a cavity and then applying a protective layer over the top of it. Over time the sponge broke down and left just the dentine, which healed the tooth. The team are now investigating whether this method could repair larger holes.

Currently with fillings patients may have to return multiple times during a lifetime to get them replaced. However the complete, effective and natural repair of this new process leaves the space occupied by the sponge full of minerals as the dentine regenerates, meaning it shouldn’t fail in the future. This process of repairing teeth could be available within 3-5 years from now.

With the potential of no longer needing an unattractive, sometimes painful filling to be inserted into damaged teeth, will this mean people may take less notice of their oral care regime? Let us know what you think on this.

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