There are very few people in life who have absolutely perfect teeth. For the rest of us, we have to suffer through cavities, embarrassing dental checkups, and the occasional root canal. While genetics play an important role in who wins the dental lottery, regular maintenance such as brushing and flossing play an even bigger role in preventing tooth decay, cavities, and extractions.
Currently, the methods that most dentists use to help people with missing, broken, or diseased teeth are somewhat artificial in the sense that such materials as amalgam (the substance dentists use to perform a filling) are not natural. These non-natural substances can erode or wear down over time. Crowns, bridges, dentures, and even dental implants are all artificial means of making our teeth look normal.
What Happens When Teeth Decay?
Human teeth are surprisingly complex. The hard outer layer that you brush with a tooth brush is called the enamel. It is harder than your bones and contains living tissue. This tissue is referred to as dentin and it resides underneath the enamel. It accounts for a big percentage of the structure of your tooth and can easily be negatively affected by bacteria.
The bacteria eat the dentin (dentin is like prime rib to bacteria) and that causes tooth sensitivity problems and cavities. Left unchecked over the course of many years and it can lead to tooth decay or tooth loss.
The other major difference between human teeth and human bones is that unlike bones, human teeth cannot grow back or regenerate naturally. This means when it comes time for a dentist to help alleviate the pain from a toothache or perform a root canal, the techniques they use aren’t exactly natural and as such can be prone to failure due to time or stress.
What Currently Can and Can’t Grow Back?
If you’ve been holding out on deciding to get that dental implant you need…you should probably go ahead and get it anyways. Currently dentists cannot grow teeth back. Scientists and researchers are exploring new ways to encourage teeth, dentin, and pulp regrowth from a natural perspective. If they are one day successful, it will revolutionize dentistry and forgo the need for artificial materials that are prone to break down over time.
Laser Lights to Regrow Teeth? – Scientists are currently testing low-power lasers that are designed to stimulate and encourage dental stem cells to regrow dentin. Preliminary tests in laboratory mice have shown great promise.
This process cannot grow new enamel, so growing new teeth with lasers will most likely not happen in the future. However, if the technique is perfected and clinical trials on human beings are successful, it holds the promise to completely eliminate the need for root canals!
Tideglusib – This is a drug that is normally used to treat such conditions are autism and Alzheimer’s. Scientists found that it can be used to stimulate stem cells in the pulp of the tooth. This in turn creates more dentin and eliminates the need for a root canal. The drug is currently being tested on lab rats and if successful will move to clinical trials on human beings.
What Does the Future Hold?
As the years go by, dental science is improving by leaps and bounds. Long gone are many of the antiquated and very painful dental techniques that were employed just 25 short years ago. Scientists are currently working on ways to completely regrow teeth, which would eliminate even more painful and invasive dental fixes that are currently in use today.
For example, scientists have already regrown teeth in mice. They created a “baby tooth” and implanted it into the mouth of a mouse. The teeth grew to adult hood in just 49 days! Imagine going to the dentist and having them remove your decayed or broken teeth and then implanting brand new baby teeth that they grew in a petri dish. In just a few short months you’d have perfect adult teeth and as long as you take care of them, they will last you a lifetime!
Advanced Dentistry Procedures in Chicago
Let’s face it. There are many of us who have an unnatural fear of the dentist. The drills, the smells, the uncomfortable positions we have to endure while the dentist does his job aren’t exactly considered to be fun. Perhaps some day in the future our great-grandchildren will look at the dentistry practices of today as barbaric and something best relegated to the stone age.
Until that day comes, there are many new dental technologies that are designed to make dental procedures less painful, invasive, and even more pleasant!
At Water Tower Dental Care, we have many new and exciting technologies that can make your dental office visit a pleasant experience. Give us a call at (312) 787-2131 or schedule an online appointment to learn more about the exciting innovative technologies we offer that will have you smiling from ear to ear!