Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. Sadly, it cannot repair itself when damaged, making people more susceptible to cavities and eventually needing fillings or tooth extraction.
Now, scientists at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in Hangzhou, China, have found a way to grow the enamel with the same structure as in teeth! This is by mixing calcium and phosphate ions (both minerals which are found in enamel) with the chemical called triethylamine in an alcohol solution.
Writing in the journal Science Advances, Changyu Shao said: “Although a range of materials, such as composite resins, ceramics, and amalgam, have been developed for the restoration of tooth enamel, they have failed to achieve permanent repair because of the imperfect combination between these foreign materials and the native enamel.
“However, the layer newly regrown by remineralization can be integrated into native enamel such that the repair would be permanent, and this process may be developed as an effective cure for enamel erosion in clinical practice.
They believe that when developed, it is a promising enamel repair material for dental applications in the near future.
Scientists showed it is possible to soak a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it triggers the growth of dentin and repairs the damage within six weeks. They also discovered a new group of stem cells that contributes dentin growth.
Commenting on the new Chinese research Professor Damien Walmsley, Scientific Advisor for the British Dental Association, said: “This is exciting but it’s still a very long way off. “A lot of other things need to come together before we can successfully grow back a tooth.
“I think we’ll eventually get there in ten, 15, 20 years.”
Know more about the procedure via The Telegraph