Scientists Get Closer to Recreating Enamel – Could This be the End of Cavities?
Dentists have put considerable time and effort into protecting enamel, knowing that once it’s been compromised or worn down a patient could be prone to side effects like sensitivity, decay or staining. Enamel is a vital component of proper oral health and contributes to the overall appearance of teeth. Its regeneration, though, has posed significant obstacles to the practice of dentistry.
The reality is that once enamel wears off; it does not grow back making the best treatment preventative. What if enamel could be recreated, though? How would this change dentistry and what benefits would it offer patients? These questions might soon be answered as enamel recreation could be on the horizon.
Let’s review why enamel is so important to our oral health. Next, we’ll breakdown this recent scientific development, the benefit to patients and if this does, in fact, mean the end of cavities. Lastly, we’ll look closely at Georgian Dental® and why it’s considered one of the most cutting-edge clinics in Barrie.
What is Tooth Enamel?
Enamel is the outer layer of teeth. Its purpose is to protect the interior portion of teeth from physical and chemical trauma. Enamel isn’t just tough, it’s actually the toughest tissue in the body, even more so than bone, if you can believe it. Enamel is incapable of self-repair because even though it is formed biologically, it turns acellular once it reaches full maturation.
Enamel is key to a tooth’s defense against external dangers. Since teeth are constantly under barrage from the chemicals commonly found in foods, drinks and bodily fluids, strong enamel is imperative. Over time, enamel can weaken and wear down.
There isn’t just one cause of enamel erosion. It generally occurs because of one’s diet and oral hygiene habits (or lack thereof). These can include:
- Foods that are high in sugar.
- Foods that are high in starch.
- Acidic foods like citrus fruits.
- Excessive consumption of Vitamin C.
- Teeth grinding
- Regular use of medications like aspirin.
- Severe cases of acid reflux.
- Eating disorders like bulimia which disrupt the digestive system.
Side effects of enamel erosion, include:
- Pain and increased sensitivity to certain foods and drinks.
- Teeth can discolour or turn yellow.
- Teeth can crack or chip.
- Surfaces of teeth can develop indentations called cups.
- Teeth can develop rough edges and spots.
- Teeth can turn translucent.
- Teeth can experience decay.
Methods like ceramics and amalgam are often used by dentists or specialists to restore or repair enamel but they are short-term solutions that don’t really fix the problem. Additionally, they tend to loosen over time, which creates a new host of problems for a patient to deal with.
Enamel erosion is very serious and an advancement toward being able to regenerate lost enamel will be incredibly beneficial to the long-term oral health of millions of people.
A Dental Scientific Breakthrough
Recently, advancements have been made to provide enamel with the ability to regenerate. A research team based in China at Zhejiang University have formulated a gel that promotes tooth enamel to essentially repair itself.
This gel was subjected to rigorous testing, including being applied to damaged teeth removed from patients and then stored in a solution that realistically replicated the environment of the mouth. According to the study presented by the scientists, this gel aided the enamel in self-repair within 48 hours.
Microscopy revealed that the new enamel had the same arrangement of calcium and phosphate crystals typically found in normal enamel. This is a big deal as previous attempts by other scientists and researchers to repair enamel with a mix of calcium and phosphate were comprised of larger particle clusters, which kept them from fully clinging to the surface of a tooth.
One flaw in the gel’s efficacy is that it only generated a layer of about three micrometres, which is roughly 400 times thinner than healthy enamel. This gel is currently being tested on mice and could be tested on human subjects at a later stage. Human testing would involve everyday circumstances like eating and drinking to observe and record how the gel held up in realistic situations.
It would be an understatement to refer to enamel recreation as anything less than significant.
A Win for Dental Patients
The ability for enamel to self-repair would truly be a game-changer for dentistry. For starters, it provides dentists with a strong option to treat or even prevent cavities. Additionally, it can provide those suffering from tooth decay, a prevalent and chronic disease that affects millions, with an effective, long-term solution. Furthermore, it can help people with sensitive teeth or fix chipped or cracked teeth.
A Cutting-Edge Dental Clinic in Barrie
Georgian Dental® is committed to adopting the most innovative technologies and practices to offer Barrie residents the best in professional oral care. We marry this philosophy with our commitment to holistic dentistry, which considers a patient’s entire well-being.
Some examples of our adherence to modern and advanced procedures and materials, include:
Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST) is a revolutionary method to treat gum recession. It’s a safe alternative to gum grafting procedures via the process of rejuvenating receding gums. PST restores the initial height of the gum to protect any roots that were once exposed. This unique technique is relatively painless.
Laser Dentistry is a wonderful option for patients who want to steer clear of Novocain and drilling. It is a testament to Georgian Dental’s belief that many of the traditional methods—which were less efficient and more painful—were simply not good enough.
Lasers can be utilized as either a cutting instrument or a heat source to combat tooth decay or as part of a biopsy. Its precision is uncanny, and it is a virtually pain-free procedure that delivers results.
3D Printed Teeth restores damaged teeth in only a single visit, illustrating the power of state-of-the-art dental technology. Using high-grade ceramic material, this process is typically quick, and the result is perfect crowns with minimal disruption to a patient’s life.
Invisalign straighten teeth via sets of clear and removable aligners. These aligners allow people to eat and drink what they want, as they can simply remove the aligners from their mouths when needed. Aligners are replaced every two weeks and work by slightly moving teeth until they are in a healthy final position.
Designed and crafted with 3D computer imaging, these braces are a popular alternative to traditional braces as they don’t require metal or any wires. Furthermore, patients love them because they are comfortable and do not interrupt their social, professional or romantic lives during treatment.
As Barrie dentists, we also offer a range of modern treatments to help patients feel their best and get their smile in style. These include:
It is technology and innovation that drives our clinic and the practice of dentistry forward, ensuring patients are receiving the care they need.
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Receiving the best dental and orthodontic care means partnering with a clinic that leverages the very best with respect to procedures and practices. You want a clinic that adheres to significant dental breakthroughs to evolve their patient offering.