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Regenerative dental fillings could help heal teeth

Researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University have developed therapeutic synthetic, light-curable, biomaterials for dental treatments that support native dental stem cells inside teeth to repair and regenerate dentin.

The approach could significantly impact millions of dental patients each year by dental fillings that help heal teeth when they are injured from dental disease or dental surgery.

“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,” said Adam Celiz, Ph.D., Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham.

“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.” David Mooney, Ph.D., of the Wyss Institute, added, “These materials may provide an effective and practical approach to allow a patient to regenerate components of their own teeth.”