Treating Cavities Without Drilling

Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 2:11 pm

New research reported in the journal ACS Nano suggests that someday cavities may be healed using a new peptide.  This new peptide is embedded in a soft gel or flexible film and placed next to the cavity.  It encourages the cells inside the tooth to regenerate.  The new gel could help avoid drilling into decayed teeth.

Researcher Nadia Benkirane-Jessel stated “It’s not like toothpaste”, which is designed to prevent cavities.  “Here we are really trying to control cavities (after they develop).”   The research into this new peptide could change the way cavities are treated.

Millions of cavities are treated by dentists each year.  Drilling teeth and filling them is very safe and the most effective way of saving a decayed tooth.

The French researchers used a peptide called MSN or melanocyte-stimulating hormone which has previously been shown to encourage bone regeneration.  The team theorized that bone and teeth are fairly similar so they tested whether the MSH would help teeth regenerate as well.  The researchers applied either a film or gel containing MSH to decayed mice teeth.  After about a month the cavities had healed according to Benkirane-Jessel.

The researchers caution that regenerating a tooth from within would probably be useful in only a small number of cases and that most cavities would still need to be drilled and filled.  Whatever the outcome, it will still be many years before the product of this research reaches dental offices and consumers.

In the meantime, preventing cavities is your best bet which means brushing and flossing.  Visit your dental hygienist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.  If you do develop a cavity ask how it will be filled.  I am proud that Wilbanks Smile Center is a mercury free office – old fashioned mercury or silver fillings are never used on my patients.

If you have a concern about your old silver amalgam fillings please contact my team at 706-886-9439 to discuss how your smile can become mercury free.  Until teeth are able to heal themselves we have plenty of safer alternatives for your treatment here at my Toccoa office.

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Category: Mercury Free Dentistry

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