Drug used to treat Alzheimer's could regenerate teeth, eradicating the need for fillings

By midian182 · 19 replies
Jan 11, 2017
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  1. Most adults will have to endure fillings at some point in their lives, but an end to the uncomfortable procedure could be in sight after scientists from the Dental Institute at King's College London discovered a way of stimulating tooth regrowth and repairing cavities.

    The team found that when a biodegradable sponge was soaked in the drug Tideglusib and put inside a cavity, it could encourage cells in the dental pulp to heal small holes in mice teeth, leading to "complete, effective natural repair" in four to six weeks.

    While teeth are able to regenerate a thin band of dentine – the layer between the enamel and the pulp of the tooth – it’s not enough to repair large cavities that are the result of tooth decay.

    Tideglusib heightens the activity of stem cells in the dental pulp, triggering them to develop into odontoblasts (specialised tooth cells) and boosting the production of dentine. As the sponge – made from collagen - degrades, new dentine is regenerated to replace it. "The sponge is biodegradable, that's the key thing,” one of the researchers, Prof. Paul Sharpe, told the BBC. “The space occupied by the sponge becomes full of minerals as the dentine regenerates so you don't have anything in there to fail in the future."

    There have been some concerns that Tideglusib could play a role in the formation of tumors, but the drug has been used to safely treat patients with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the past, which could speed up its adoption among dental practices. "The safety work has been done and at much higher concentrations so hopefully we're on to a winner," said Prof Sharpe.

    The researchers estimate that the treatment could become commercially available within three to five years.

    Permalink to story.

  2. NightAngel79

    NightAngel79 TS Booster Posts: 191   +46

    9 out of 10 Dentists are scared of this.
    SirChocula and Kibaruk like this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    They haven't mentioned price. I'll be willing to bet this costs significantly more than standard fillings.
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    Yet... what does it tell you? Would you rather get your teeth regenerated or just have a filling?
    NightAngel79 and Wendig0 like this.
  5. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,265   +436

    This is actually big news!
    Wendig0 likes this.
  6. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 142   +37

    Who do you think will operate these most likely expansive procedures, if anything 10 out of 10 they`re only happier.
    On topic: regenerating a "thin" layer of dentin is not actually tooth regrowth and as the article states: "it’s not enough to repair large cavities that are the result of tooth decay". It also can`t repair enamel. So you still need fillings; so this is basically an expansive procedure to heal the cavity naturally, so you won`t have to deal with secondary cavities that might form under your filling, if the dentist is not thorough in eliminating the decayed dentin in the first place.
    Frankly, I`ll only be enthusiastic when they would be able to actually grow you a new tooth and somehow implant it in your mouth.
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Teeth. I don't care about cost, I was just pointing out the error in the OP.
  8. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    Abuse of this drug is marked by people's teeth growing through their skull if they aren't properly gnawed down.
    NightAngel79 likes this.
  9. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Reading fail. The article says the treatment results in complete cavity repair, noting that teeth on their own are not able to repair large cavities.
    NightAngel79 and Invizibleyez like this.
  10. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    They mean "unassisted". Naturally, teeth regrow a thin layer of dentin. This process seems to stimulate extra growth, and the biodegrable sponge provides the structure for that growth to move into.

    Now, I don't know about enamel growth. They might still have to 'paint' over it with something.... but that is me speculating.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,334   +1,979

    OK, but what about false teeth?!?!?!?! We need something that will grow these choppers back!
  12. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    It was a joke.

    I don't fail.

    You do.
    NightAngel79 likes this.
  13. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    When you have the munchies after some strong weed but no snacks:

    Invizibleyez likes this.
  14. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 142   +37

    So it only eradicates the need for fillings in surface cavities at 100 times the cost? Great!
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,716   +3,696

    The way people wear piercings, they wouldn't call it abuse. In fact there would be a side market for a drug to do just that.
  16. emmzo

    emmzo TS Booster Posts: 142   +37

    You`re right. I misread. Still it can`t repair enamel and uncontrolled growth could be a nightmare for occlusion.
    davislane1 likes this.
  17. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 857   +873

    I'd be happy if they found a way to make enamel regrow. that would make fillings much rarer in the first place.
    Lionvibez and Invizibleyez like this.
  18. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    I don't think they mentioned cost? But I wouldn't be surprised if most dental insurances end up covering it even if it is more expensive. One of the main issues with large fillings and false teeth is you have to extra careful with extreme temperature; not super hot or super cold drinks. The fillings expand and contract at different coefficients than the teeth, and can actually crack the tooth, making the problem worse. I am betting that these 're-grown' teeth won't have that issue since it will be the same material - so less likely that they'll have to cover getting replacements made.
  19. koblongata

    koblongata TS Enthusiast Posts: 60   +15

    Why? in Taiwan filling is covered by our healthcare, because it's a relatively cheap but somehow essential procedure.
  20. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    But what if you grow teeth somewhere else? :)
    I know that the 'sponge soaked with the drug' must be placed inside a tooth cavity but it can be dislodged... I'd be damned if I grow teeth in my throat, intestines, and anus...

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