A root canal involves the removal of an infection that results in a dead tooth that has no living tissue. In August, scientists reported work on the development of a material that is designed to stimulate the growth of blood vessels inside the tooth following root canal therapy.
The idea comes from Drs. Vivek Kumar and Peter Nguyen from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The researchers presented their results Aug. 22 at the 256th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
During a root canal, the dentist or endodontist, a dentist who specializes in the treatment of root canal issues, drills off the top of the infected tooth and removes the infected dental pulp. The space inside is then usually filled with tiny rubber rods and the tooth is capped with a crown. The researchers wanted to create a gel that would replace the rubber rods inside the tooth that could create dental pulp stem cells. The team found that the material caused dental pulp cells to multiply and also increased tooth enamel.
The researchers are currently testing the material on dogs that have had root canals to see if the dental pulp cells will regenerate in a living animal. If all goes well, the next step will be human clinical studies.
More information about root canal therapy can be found on MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website.
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