A gel-like solution that regenerates 'dental enamel' may revolutionize existing caries treatment


Rodolfo Clix

The enamel on the surface of the hardest part of the human body, the teeth, has a very hard and complex structure. People around the world are suffering from tooth decay that dissolves enamel, but a research team at Zhejiang University , China, has developed a solution that restores enamel.

Repair of tooth enamel by a biomimetic mineralization frontier ensuring epitaxial growth | Science Advances

Scientists Have Developed a Genius Method That Actually Regenerates Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is formed by a physiological calcification process. The cells called enamel blasts secrete special proteins called “enamel proteins” such as enamelin and amelogenin, and calcification progresses and hardens during the development of teeth.

The problem for humans is that enamel blasts exist only during tooth development. Since there are no enamel blasts in the mature tooth, it can be remineralized and regenerated little by little by the action of saliva, but there is little self-healing of severely damaged enamel. about.

According to a research team at Zhejiang University, the complex crystal structure of enamel is difficult to reproduce well in the laboratory, so many approaches to artificially remineralize enamel have failed. . However, the research team announced that it was able to induce enamel crystal growth using materials composed of calcium phosphate ion clusters.



The research team developed a gel-like solution in which calcium phosphate ion clusters with a diameter of only 1.5 nm were stabilized with ethanol containing a chemical substance called triethylamine to prevent aggregation. Calcium phosphate crystals are known as the main inorganic component of enamel.

When the solution is applied to human teeth provided for experimentation, ultra-small ionic clusters fuse well with enamel fish scale structures, creating artificial enamel where the boundary between natural and artificial is indistinguishable. It was. The artificial enamel produced by the solution is several hundred times thinner than the enamel of human teeth, but the research team can effectively thicken the artificial enamel by applying the solution repeatedly Insist.

“Our newly regenerated enamel has the same structure and mechanical properties as natural enamel,” commented Zhaoming Liu, a research team. Resin fillings are used in the existing dental caries treatment, but this discovery may make it possible to realize treatment using artificial enamel. Mr. Liu said he would like to conduct a human clinical trial within one to two years if future research goes well.


Oleg Magni

A major concern about the gel-like solution developed this time is the toxicity of triethylamine used for stabilization. Because the chemicals evaporate during the process, the research team probably believes that triethylamine will not adversely affect the human body, but it is said that it is in the stage of confirming safety with mice before clinical trials. If safety is confirmed in a future human clinical trial, it seems that dentists may be able to treat artificial enamel within a few years.

However, just because a new approach to artificial enamel recovery has been successful does not mean that caries is no longer a problem. “Cavity prevention is the best approach,” said Chen Haifeng, a biomedical researcher at Peking University.

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