Researchers have reportedly developed a new method to grow minerals that could potentially regenerate dental enamel and other hard tissues.
Dental enamel is the hardest tissue in a human body. Enamel is found on the outer part of the teeth and allows our teeth to function during a significant portion of our lives despite being exposed to biting forces, extreme temperatures, acidic foods, and beverages.
Unfortunately, enamel is not capable of regenerating itself unlike other tissues in our body. This usually leads to pain and tooth loss. According to statistics, over 50 percent of the world’s current population is suffering from this problem.
However, researchers from the Queen Mary University, London, have developed a new way to grow mineralized materials that could potentially regenerate dental enamel and other hard tissued in the human body. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers claim that their technique could produce materials similar to dental enamel.
“This is exciting because the simplicity and versatility of the mineralization platform open up opportunities to treat and regenerate dental tissues. For example, we could develop acid resistant bandages that can infiltrate, mineralize, and shield exposed dentinal tubules of human teeth for the treatment of dentin hypersensitivity,” Dr. Sherif Elsharkawy, first author of the study from Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science, said.
According to the researchers, their method could find useful applications in a wide variety of dental complications like tooth decay prevention and treatment or tooth sensitivity known as dentin hypersensitivity.
The new method, based on a particular protein material. could trigger the growth of apatite nanocrystals. The structural design of these crystals plays a significant role in producing the physical properties usually exhibited by natural dental enamel.
“A major goal in materials science is to learn from nature to develop useful materials based on the precise control of molecular building blocks. The key discovery has been the possibility to exploit disordered proteins to control and guide the process of mineralization at multiple scales. Through this, we have developed a technique to easily grow synthetic materials that emulate such hierarchically organized architecture over large areas and with the capacity to tune their properties,” Professor Alvaro Mata, lead author of the study, went on to say.
Aside from dentistry, the work of Mata and his colleagues could also have potential use in other fields of regenerative medicine like regrowing or healing certain bones. in our body