A new gel which is capable of boosting the growth of cells inside teeth that have cavities can replace the painful procedure of fillings.
The new gel or thin film could eliminate the need to fill painful cavities or drill deep into the root canal of an infected tooth. Instead of a drill, the gel against an infected tooth could heal teeth from within, reports Discovery News.
According to Nadia Benkirane-Jessel, a scientist at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale and a co-author of a recent paper, the gel contains a peptide known as MSH, or melanocyte-stimulating hormone. The scientists applied the gel to cavity-filled mice teeth, and found them healed in a month's time.
Cavities are usually caused by acidic foods, sugary snacks or improper oral hygiene. But the treatment remains the same - drilling into a tooth, removing the decay and filling in the hole to prevent further damage.
However, Benkirane-Jessel warns that regenerating a tooth would be useful in limited number of cases. Additionally, it would only heal cavities, not prevent them and patients would still have to maintain oral hygiene through brushing and flossing.
The study is published in the journal ACS Nano.