No more fillings! Scientists have figured out how to regenerate dentin, the material inside our teeth.
Image: Muskoka Stock Photos/Shutterstock
And all it takes is a quick blast with a low-powered laser, according to new research by a team of Harvard University-led scientists.
The new study published in Science Translational Medicine shows that a low-power laser can trigger stem cells in your tooth to form dentin.
As Sarah Zhang reports for Gizmodo, currently dentists can only replace damaged dentin with synthetic material, for example, when you get a filling or root canal.
But using this new technique, dentists may soon be able to actually regrow your tooth.
It sounds counterintuitive, seeing as high-power lasers can also destroy your teeth, but for years anecdotal reports have suggested that low-power laser could stimulate skin or hair growth - and now this study has shown the same technique works for teeth.
So how does it happen?
Zhang explains in Gizmodo: A blast of laser induces reactive oxygen species, which are chemically active molecules that then activate a growth factor to stimulate dentin growth.
This is the first procedure that could regrow teeth in your mouth, and has so far been tested on rodent teeth. The work will now continue onto human trials, with the hope that it could one day replace painful dental procedures.
Sure, having a laser pointed into your mouth isn’t that appealing, but it beats a root canal any day.