What if a cavity could fill itself, or if a broken tooth could regrow? What about a missing tooth that could regenerate?
Scientists have come up with a bright idea – literally – to repair teeth.
Using lasers to regenerate, and grow body parts, sounds like science fiction, but researchers have just demonstrated that it might be a transformative tool in dentistry in the future.
Using existing regeneration methods, scientists must take stem cells from the body, manipulate them in a lab, and put them back into the body. This new technique, more simply, stimulates action in stem cells that are already in place. A Harvard-led team just successfully used low-powered lasers to activate stem cells and stimulate the growth of teeth in rats and human dental tissue in a lab.
Stem cells exist throughout the body, and they fascinate scientists, because they have the potential to repair or replace damaged or worn out tissue.
Using lasers to make stem cells do their work is a minimally invasive technique. The ability to naturally regrow dental tissue could transform dentistry, making it possible to regrow teeth instead of replacing them with a substitute, like porcelain.
The research is in its earliest stages and has not yet been tested on humans, so it’s far too soon to say whether these futuristic techniques will ever make it to your local hospital.
Why it’s not ready for prime time yet
They did not regenerate an entire tooth, in part, because the enamel part was too tricky. What they can’t do yet is stimulate an entire tooth to regrow – the new dentin lacks the structure of a tooth.
But merely getting dentin to grow could help alleviate the need for root canal treatment, the painful procedure to remove dead or dying nerve tissue and bacteria from inside a tooth. In fact, regrowing our teeth is highly preferable to having them filled, because most fillings these days either contain mercury (a known toxin that damages the brain and nervous system), or are estrogenic (white fillings release estrogen and contribute to hormonal problems).
Regrowing your teeth using stem cells is still experimental.
For re-growing the layers of your teeth – enamel or dentin – without a laser at home, you’ll need two things: comfrey root and organic eggshells. Eggshells are used because they contain 27 minerals and loads of calcium, so they contain the ideal building materials to regrow your teeth. In fact, the composition of eggshells is very similar to the composition of our teeth and bones. Comfrey root is used because it accelerates bone, teeth and tissue growth. In fact, another name for comfrey root is knitbone, primarily because of its ability to knit – or regrow – bone together so quickly.
While you’re re-mineralizing, adding plenty of calcium to your body with eggshells, you’ll also want to use comfrey root on your teeth and gums. Either fresh or dried comfrey root will do the trick, but if it’s dried, boil the root lightly for ten minutes to rehydrate it. Then, blend a square inch of the root with a few tablespoons of water to make a liquid. Swish the liquid in your mouth and between your teeth for about 20 minutes. When you’re finished, just spit it out.
Using comfrey in this manner is best done once a day, and you’ll likely see progress within a few weeks. Many cavities can be completely regrown within a month or two with regular use.
As a note, comfrey root can be a little hard on your liver so if you have liver problems, you’ll want to avoid using comfrey. After your teeth have regrown, you’ll also want to end the use of comfrey so as not to overdo it.
Healing cavities without drilling
When you damage a tooth, your dentist usually uses a filling or a crown to patch it up. But eventually, researchers say that your dentist might just point a laser at it, encouraging the tooth to regrow on its own.
While it’s no surprise that light causes reactions in the human body, some researchers have been trying to determine whether specific wavelengths of light might be able to trigger specific healing properties, when focused on a certain area of the body. So, the next time you get a cavity, you might get tooth regeneration instead of fillings.
Dental materials for tissue regeneration
Materials scientists are beginning to develop solutions of chemicals that can actually rebuild decayed teeth. Enamel and dentin, the natural materials that make teeth the strongest pieces of your body, could someday replace gold or ceramic fillings.
With the help of a calcium-containing solution of ions, scientists have been able to rebuild dentin and remineralize some parts of the teeth. Still, the complicated process is years away from being used in your local dentist‘s office.
If it works in a clinical trial setting, I think it will be great news in future… “No more drilling and filling!”