Scientists have made advances in treating tooth decay that they hope will let them restore tooth tissue — and avoid the painful dental procedure. Several recent studies have demonstrated in animals that procedures involving tooth stem cells appear to regrow the critical, living tooth tissue known as pulp.
It’s still experimental, but there is hope:
Dental stem cells can be harvested from the pulp tissue of the wisdom and other types of adult teeth, or baby teeth. They can produce both the hard tissues needed by the tooth, like bone, and soft tissues like the pulp, says Dr. [Rena] D’Souza, a former president of the American Association for Dental Research who will become the dean of the University of Utah’s School of Dental Medicine Aug. 1.
She and colleagues at Baylor and Rice University focused on regrowing pulp using a small protein hydrogel. The gelatin-like substance is injected into the tooth and serves as a base into which pulp cells, blood vessels and nerves grow.
I have sacrificed a couple of back teeth rather than enter the Torture Chamber, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.