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Scientists could soon re-grow teeth with lasers

There are few things more terrifying than climbing into the dentist’s chair before a root canal treatment. But thanks to a new breakthrough in laser technology, that particular terror could become a much less common occurrence.

Researchers at Harvard University have successfully used lasers to partially regenerate teeth. In tests on mice and rats, they drilled out part of a tooth (I’m choosing to believe the animals were all
given laughing gas), and then treated it with a laser. Just 12 weeks later, the teeth had grown a new layer of dentin, the layer below the outer enamel.

The scientists believe that the laser’s light reacted with the dental tissue to activate growth chemicals, which stimulated stem cells to grow.

While we’re some years off dentists using this technique on patients, Dr Praveen Arany, who led the research, told the BBC that it could prevent the need for root canal treatment and tooth removal in future.

The results, which were published in the journal Science Translational
Medicine
, haven’t yet been replicated on humans, but the procedure should be easier to
perform on people given that our teeth are larger, and many of us think lasers are cool.

Image via Conor Lawless’ Flickr.

By Diane Shipley | May 29th, 2014





Diane ShipleyScientists could soon re-grow teeth with lasers
  • captainhurt

    either the experment was meaningless, or the author left out something. A root canal drills out the NERVES, ROOTS and other tissues…far more than simply the dentin. A tooth is made up of all kinds of things and the root canal's objective is to remove the entire live portion of the tooth to address a chronic infection/inflamation.junk article.

    • MazMonroe

      Before commenting, perhaps you should have read the report in its entirety?”While we're some years off dentists using this technique on patients, Dr Praveen Arany, who led the research, told the BBC that it could prevent the need for root canal treatment and tooth removal in future.”With particular reference to the bits about “we're some years off”, and “in the future”.

      • captainhurt

        Its a meaningless generalization.

        • MazMonroe

          No, no it isn't.