A team of researchers at King’s College London has discovered a new method of stimulating the renewal of living stem cells in tooth pulp using an Alzheimer’s drug.
The novel, biological approach encourages natural tooth repair rather than using cements or fillings which are prone to infections and often need replacing a number of times.
Currently, dentists use man-made cements or fillings, such as calcium and silicon-based products, to treat larger cavities and fill holes in teeth.
This cement remains in the tooth and fails to disintegrate, meaning that the normal mineral level of the tooth is never completely restored.
In the new method, one of the small molecules used by scientists from the Dental Institute at King’s College London to stimulate the renewal of the stem cells included Tideglusib, a drug to treat neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease.
“The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine,” said Professor Paul Sharpe.
In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics, he added in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.