A group of scientists at the University of Leeds’ School of Chemistry have discovered a tooth treatment that would eliminate the need for that unpleasant drilling session in the dentist’s chair. Basically, a gel works to stimulate decayed teeth to regenerate themselves. Sounds great, right? No more drilling and filling cavities, and no more nightmares filled with the dreaded whirring of the mechanical drill.
The new treatment focuses on tackling the first signs of tooth decay. Once the tooth starts to rot, a peptide-based fluid is painted onto the tooth’s surface to stimulate regeneration. The peptide, known as P 11-4, assembles into fibers under when it interacts with the acid produced by bacteria in plaque. This acid is what dissolves the mineral in the teeth. At this point, the fluid forms a gel that provides a “scaffold” that attracts calcium and regenerates the tooth’s mineral from inside the tooth. And voilà! Natural and pain-free tooth repair!
“This may sound too good to be true, but we are essentially helping acid-damaged teeth to regenerate themselves. It is a totally natural non-surgical repair process and is entirely pain-free too,” said Professor Jennifer Kirkham, from the University of Leeds Dental Institute, who led development of the new technique.
Once the fluid had been tested on unsuspecting mice and it was deemed acceptable for human mouths, a group of volunteers with initial signs of tooth decay got to sample the stuff and it was successful at reversing the decay.
“The results of our tests so far are extremely promising,” said Professor Paul Brunton, who is overseeing the patient testing at the University of Leeds Dental Institute. “If these results can be repeated on a larger patient group, then I have no doubt whatsoever that in two to three years time this technique will be available for dentists to use in their daily practice.”
I’m already thinking of the infomercials, voiced-over by a ridiculously masculine voice that says something along the lines of, “Eating too much sweets and worrying about those pesky cavities? No problem! Just squeeze some Leed’s Magic Liquid onto that troubled tooth, and peptides will work to revitalize and renew the hard, bony enamel-coated structure in your mouth.” At this point someone ends up with a mouth full of gritty, gross gel and still has to go to the dentist. They then call the company to return their special edition Magic Liquid package that was on sale for $99.99.
Yeah… Does this sound legitimate to you? If it is, a lot of dentists won’t be too eager to stock it because it means they lose the revenue from drilling and filling. Unless it comes with an outrageous price tag, of course.