If you have succumbed to cavities, then you are familiar with the process of getting them filled. Before filling the decayed tooth, your dentist will numb the area where the restoration will be placed. Your gums, teeth, and any surrounding tissue is also numbed. A hole is drilled, and the hollow tooth will now be filled to preserve it. But, instead of drilling, what if there were a different way to treat cavities? What if there were a way to help decayed teeth grow back healthy? A new technology on the horizon, boasts a way to repair cavities that would involve no numbing or drilling. Today, our team at Lake Forest Dental Arts explores this first of its kind treatment for cavities at our Lake Forest, IL dental office.
A Gel That Can Help Preserve Teeth?
The dental community continues to explore the benefits of a treatment that can help decayed teeth grow back in a matter of weeks. The gel was developed by scientists in France. It works by triggering the cells in teeth to multiply. Afterward, those cells then begin to form healthy tissue in the tooth, replacing what was lost to decay. Some research indicates that healthy cells were found within four weeks after the gel was applied to decayed teeth. With the new technology, the healthy tooth structure would remain untouched, and treating the cavity would be no more than the dab of a gel or placement of a thin film against the infected part of the tooth. The tooth would then heal itself from within. While this new peptide is designed for restoring teeth and repairing cavities, it is important to note that it cannot prevent them.
What Does This Cavity Gel Contain?
The cavity gel contains what is referred to as melanocyte-stimulating hormone, or MSH. This hormone is known in playing a vital role in the skin tone of a person. The more MSH an individual has, the darker their skin. However, recent studies support findings that MSH may also actually stimulate bone regeneration. When scientists placed this MSH-gel next to a cavity, it went to work on the cells inside of the tooth, prompting the cells to regenerate.
Since the breakthrough cavity gel contains MSH, research showed that MSH encourages bone regeneration. Teeth and bone have lots of similarities. So, scientists reasoned that if MSH encourages bone regeneration, perhaps it could promote tooth generation as well.
This theory was tested on mice. The researchers applied both a film and a gel, each containing the MSH, to the teeth of mice. After the application to those cavity-filled teeth, the researchers then inspected the teeth of the mice, only to find that the cavities the mice once had, disappeared.
The Future of Cavity Gel
As research continues to grow about this technology, the peptide is being met with tremendous success. When the compound comes into contact with a decaying tooth, it infiltrates the pores of the surface of the tooth, then morphs into a gel. This gel replicates a calcium magnet, pulling precious minerals into the decaying tooth, repairing it from inside out. As the compound appears to be doing what it is supposed to be doing, the treatment is undergoing extensive clinical trials. As the cavity gel continues to show promise, scientists believe that this new peptic could be a game-changer for the future.
Why Drilling May Be Detrimental to the Health of a Tooth
Although drilling and filling has been the tried and true dental procedure for the treatment of cavities, drilling may present some downsides. Dental drilling may make many individuals stressful. Additionally, drilling can also make the tooth more brittle, increasing the risk of fracture.
The Importance of Dental Hygiene as Defense Against Cavities
Even though this ground-breaking treatment to fix cavities shows promise, it is important to brush and floss daily, to prevent cavities. Gum disease and tooth decay develop once plaque builds up on the teeth and the gumline. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for at least two minutes a day, twice a day. Flossing within 24-hour periods helps to remove the plaque and debris that stick to teeth and gums between the teeth. Flossing can also polish the the surface of a tooth, and keep bad breath at bay.
The Importance of Preventing Cavities
As we all age, preventing cavities becomes increasingly important. Although many individuals over the age of 65 retain all or some of their natural teeth, cavity prevention is still important. As we age, the potential for decay, gum disease, tooth loss, and other dental issues increases. Ways to prevent cavities include:
- Regular brushing and flossing
- Six-month professional check-ups and cleanings
- Limiting the intake of sugary foods and beverages
- Getting care and maintenance of dental treatments such as dental implants, dentures, and other restorative procedures.
How Does A Cavity Develop?
When a tooth is exposed to acid, the enamel will lose minerals. So, for a soda pop drinker or a candy eater, constant consumption of those foods and beverages will begin to take effect on the teeth, especially if they are not brushed or flossed daily and effectively. The repeated acid on the teeth will cause the enamel to erode. There may even be a white spot where the minerals once were. That white spot indicates early tooth decay.
At this point, the decay can be stopped. Enamel can repair itself from the minerals in salvia and fluoride toothpastes. However, if that soda pop drinker and candy eater continues with consumption of those foods, over time, the enamel will become weak and destroyed. Then, a cavity has formed. Unfortunately, a cavity cannot be reversed or restored. A cavity is a permanent crater or hole in the tooth that needs to be repaired with a filling from the dentist.
Contact Your Chicago Area Dentist Today
For the questions you have about cavity gel, or specific concerns about your teeth, contact your Chicago area dentist, Dr. James Fondriest. Aside from providing comprehensive family, general, and restorative dentistry services, Dr. Fondriest can provide information you need about cavity prevention. Connect with us online to make an appointment, or contact us by phone by dialing 847-234-0517.