Novel Ultrasound System Can Regrow Dental Tissue

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A team of researchers from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, report that they have been able to re-form dental tissue.

Using low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), the UA team created a miniaturized "system-on-a-chip" that offers a noninvasive and novel way to stimulate jaw growth and dental tissue healing.

The wireless design of the ultrasound transducer means the tiny device will be able to fit comfortably inside a patient’s mouth while packed in biocompatible materials. The unit will be mounted easily on an orthodontic bracket or a plastic removable crown. The team also designed an energy sensor that will ensure that the LIPUS power is reaching the target area of the tooth roots within the bone.

"If the root is broken, it can now be fixed," said Dr. Tarak El-Bialy of the UA faculty of medicine and dentistry. "And because we can regrow the teeth root, a patient could have his own tooth rather than foreign objects in his mouth."

The device is aimed at people experiencing dental root resorption, a common effect of injury to dental tissue caused by diseases and endocrine disturbances that can lead to a breakdown of the root structure of a tooth. Injury from wearing orthodontic braces also causes progressive root resorption, limiting the time that braces can be worn.

This new device will work to counteract the destructive resorptive process while allowing the patient to continue wearing the braces. With approximately 5 million people in North America wearing orthodontic braces, the market size for the device could be about 1.4 million people.

The researchers are working on turning their prototype into a market-ready model and expect the device to be ready for the public within the next two years.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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Top Oral Care Tips Related to ADULT ORTHODONTICS

  • Flossing – creating a flossing routine is important during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists and hygienists may recommend interdental brushes or floss threaders to make getting in between teeth easier.

  • Brushing routine – using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush are ideal for cleaning teeth with braces. Begin brushing at a 45-degree angle at the gum line using small circular motions. Then place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Finally, reposition the brush to brush the bottom of the bracket as well as the wire, angling the toothbrush up.

  • Fluoride mouthwash – after brushing and flossing, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to help prevent cavities and white spots.

  • Mouthguards – wear a mouthguard if you play sports. Mouthguards can protect your cheeks and lips from serious cuts and can prevent damage to your braces or orthodontic appliance if you fall down or are hit in the face.

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