Fillings that heal teeth will leave root canal treatment consigned to history, stem cell expert says


Dental fillings that help heal diseased or injured teeth may not be too far away.

A team of experts have developed therapeutic synthetic, light-curable, biomaterials for dental treatments that support dental stem cells inside teeth to repair and regenerate dentin.


And this regenerative dental innovation — that looks set change your visit to the dentist forever — has been welcomed by’s stem cell expert Dr Husein Salem and his colleague Dr Nasreen Najefi, who is chief dental officer at Precious Cells.

She said: ‘I have witnessed some incredible research endeavours in the last few years that are revolutionising the way dentists will treat patients in the future. From growing whole new teeth to the very real concept of using dental stem cells for medical applications, this really is an exciting time to be in dentistry, both for dentists and for patients.

‘The idea that root canals — a dreaded procedure for many patients — may become a procedure of the past is certainly exciting for many.’

She added: ‘We have seen similar work with products like Biodentine from Septodont that are aimed to stimulate the laying down of reparative dentine before final restoration is placed.’

The research is a collaboration of scientists from the University of Nottingham here in the UK and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University in the US.

The approach could significantly impact millions of dental patients each year with the placement of dental fillings that help heal teeth.

Dr Najefi added: ‘It is particularly pleasing to see such innovation generated through schemes from the aspiring next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals. I look forward to seeing this research come from the lab bench to the dental chair.’

Dr Adam Celiz, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘Existing dental fillings are toxic to cells and are therefore incompatible with pulp tissue inside the tooth. In cases of dental pulp disease and injury, a root canal is typically performed to remove the infected tissues.

‘We have designed synthetic biomaterials that can be used similarly to dental fillings but can be placed in direct contact with pulp tissue to stimulate the native stem cell population for repair and regeneration of pulp tissue and the surrounding dentin.’

The research won second prize in the materials category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition 2016.

The group will receive tailored business support from multinational partner companies, business training, media support, and a cash prize of £3,000.

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