There are a lot of people who are not too willing to go to a dentist but soon they will not have to go to a dentist at all. A recent research in Science Translational Medicine shows that lasers can help to regrow parts of the broken teeth. This has led people to believe that one day; lasers would surely be able to make crowns and fillings and also help people in avoiding visiting their dentists for all the painful reasons.
The research was conducted in Harvard University by a group of scientists and their colleagues. The scientists mainly focused on Dentin, a tissue that is main component of the human teeth. Dentin is quite unique in its properties as it is harder than bone and much softer than the enamel that covers the teeth. Damaged tooth are usually treated by protecting them with crowns, fillings and veneers which are usually made of ceramics and other synthetic material. The main idea was to regenerate the dentin by coaxing the stem cells first. The researchers were mainly trying to activate the proteins that are already present in the body and thus use them to manipulate dental stem cells.
The researchers found out that low levels of laser light generate reactive oxygen species. These reactive oxygen species activate a growth factor known as transforming growth factor beta- I (TGF-b1) in the body. This leads to the activation of stem cells that help in regeneration of the teeth. TGF-b1 is a known growth member that is present in many other tissues such as those of skin and bone. This validates an earlier research that suggested that lasers could help regenerate heart, skin, lungs and nerve tissue. The reason being that low levels of laser light could trigger chemical reactions that promote wound healing, reduce inflammation, and treats pain. For instance, red light can accelerate hair growth.
A false-color image from a scanning electron microscope depicting the scaffold seeded with cells used to assess laser treatment effects.
Rats were used for experimenting purposes and their molars were damaged thus removing the dentin from their teeth. After that, the teeth and the underlying tissue were exposed to laser and they were covered by temporary caps. The teeth were examined after about twelve weeks using high-resolution x-ray imaging and microscopy and they exhibited enhanced formation of dentin. The experimentation didn’t end with rats; rather the research carried out on adult human proved that low levels of lasers could regenerate dentin forming cells.
The next phase will involve human clinical trials. If these results proved what has been proved through experimentation, it will open a whole new research in the field of laser technology.