Posted May 31, 2017
Treating tooth decay soon could be natural and pain-free. Using a drug designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at the Dental Institute at King’s College in London discovered that it is effective in restoring damaged teeth.
Tooth decay occurs when mouth bacteria breaks down outer tooth enamel and creates a cavity. In the process, the soft pulp inside the tooth may be exposed and become sensitive to hot and cold beverages. Dentists usually repair teeth by removing the decay and filling the cavity with dental cement.
For bigger cavities, the dental filling prevents the protective layer of dentin and pulp underneath from fully recovering and restoring minerals to the tooth. So new decay may develop, requiring a larger restoration, such as a crown or root canal.
Scheduling regular dental appointments for checkups and cleanings is vital to protecting dental health. During the exam, the dentist will check your teeth and gums for signs of decay, gum disease and other problems. Early detection reduces the need for expensive dental treatments.
Dental insurance helps cover the cost, especially since preventive care usually is covered. Find out more about the value of dental insurance.
King’s College researchers discovered that the drug Tideglusib, which is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, could be effective in treating dental decay. It’s released as a small molecule that stimulates stem cell growth.
In dental studies, researchers inserted biodegradable sponges containing the drug inside the tooth. They discovered that as the sponges dissolved, new dentin formed to protect the pulp, heal the tooth, and eliminate the need for dental fillings.
Since Tideglusib already has been tested and approved for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, it may be possible for dentists to start using the drug as an option for repairing tooth decay.