Dental Research

A biological replacement for conventional fillings?

January 20, 2017

In a previous post, we discussed synthetic fillings as an alternative method for treating cavities. These synthetic fillings activate stem cells in order to naturally regrow the dentine in teeth. Promising as this method may seem, it’s still years away from practical application, which can only come after lengthy clinical trials.

But recently the Dental Institute at Kings College London published a study that could expedite the use of stem cells to naturally regenerate teeth and potentially replace conventional fillings altogether.

The researchers found that a stem cell called Tideglusib can be used to stimulate the growth of dentine to naturally fill a cavity. Tideglusib could be the key to more rapid adoption, because it’s been previously tested in clinical trials to treat neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

In order to rebuild dentine, the stem cell is added to a small molecule called glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3). Using clinically-approved collagen sponges, the researchers applied low doses of GSK-3 to cavities. The researchers found that the collagen sponge degraded over time while the GSK-3 worked to naturally repair the teeth.

By using a clinically tested stem cell and a clinically approved application method, this new dental treatment has the potential to make it to everyday use quickly.