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Medicine Science

'Tooth Repair Drug' May Replace Fillings (bbc.com) 130

Teeth can be encouraged to repair themselves in a way that could see an end to fillings, according to scientists. From a report on BBC: The team at King's College London showed that a chemical could encourage cells in the dental pulp to heal small holes in mice teeth. A biodegradable sponge was soaked in the drug and then put inside the cavity. The study, published in Scientific Reports, showed it led to "complete, effective natural repair." Teeth have limited regenerative abilities. They can produce a thin band of dentine -- the layer just below the enamel -- if the inner dental pulp becomes exposed, but this cannot repair a large cavity. [...] Scientists discovered that a drug called Tideglusib heightened the activity of stem cells in the dental pulp so they could repair 0.13mm holes in the teeth of mice. A drug-soaked sponge was placed in the hole and then a protective coating was applied over the top. As the sponge broke down it was replaced by dentine, healing the tooth.
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'Tooth Repair Drug' May Replace Fillings

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:04PM (#53641933)
    Punch line still coming?
    • The stereotype was probably last relevant in the 19th century. It is what happens when a wealthy class gets access to sugar cane but teeth brushing is not widely observed.

    • Have you seen British teeth in recent decades? Theirs are nicer than those of us who live in the US, now.
      • by slew ( 2918 )

        Have you seen British teeth in recent decades? Theirs are nicer than those of us who live in the US, now.

        Maybe nicer, but only if can pay out of pocket, or you can find an NHS dentist [telegraph.co.uk]...

        Brexit may exasperate this probably as many dentist in the UK come from EU countries [nature.com]...

        • Have you seen British teeth in recent decades? Theirs are nicer than those of us who live in the US, now.

          Maybe nicer, but only if can pay out of pocket, or you can find an NHS dentist [telegraph.co.uk]...

          Brexit may exasperate this probably as many dentist in the UK come from EU countries...

          On the flip side, Brexit will bring a need for more dentists.

          I think dentistry is a fine profession, something that is unlikely to be replaced by AI any time soon. Having a high-paying vocation that students can strive for seems like it would be a win for any Brits who have children.

          Your view of Brexit, that all the dentists would flee the UK leaving no one to care for peoples' teeth, seems a bit unrealistic.

        • Re:Teeth - Britain (Score:4, Informative)

          by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @05:07PM (#53644229)

          Brexit may exasperate this probably

          No matter how exasperated you may be over Brexit, it's more likely to exacerbate the problem (or the probably, if that's really what you meant).

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:06PM (#53641943) Journal
    ...development, namely food additives that could actually help heal your teeth or at least as an micro-repair that's not damaging to the body, but will fill up microcavities over time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Food additives that could help heal your teeth that are thought to be non-damaging to the body at first, but found to be carcinogenic a few years later.

      FTFY, a.k.a. stop thinking about additives as a miracle solution. Stop putting crap for our teeth in water, we already have toothpaste and toothbrushes.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You know when fluoridation first began? Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, AC. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

    • You're not going to want to ingest cell growth promoters willy-nilly...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're not going to want to ingest cell growth promoters willy-nilly...

        However, if you ingest cell growth promoters for your willy-nilly... Well then, that's a horse of a different color... So to speak.

      • Down that way lies cancer, and lots of it.

        • What doesn't cause cancer at this point?

          • Telomerase inhibitors?
          • Some of the stuff not listed here may not cause cancer:

            Acetaldehyde, acrylamide, acrylonitril, abortion, agent orange, alar, alcohol, air pollution, aldrin, alfatoxin, arsenic, arsine, asbestos, asphalt fumes, atrazine, AZT, baby food, barbequed meat, benzene, benzidine, benzopyrene, beryllium, beta-carotene, betel nuts, birth control pills, bottled water, bracken, bread, breasts, brooms, bus stations, calcium channel blockers, cadmium, candles, captan, carbon black, carbon tetrachloride, careers for wome
        • Well that or super powers if you get exposed to radiation

    • Put it in coffee (Tea for British).
    • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @01:38PM (#53642595)
      Do you know what fluoridation is? It's an insidious communist plot to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids. Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.
    • No, the interesting thing will be people using this to modify their teeth. Y'know, the wannabe vampires or furries who want longer canines, or all their front teeth to be pointed.
      • Actually this will not do what the BBC headline implies it will, the drug Tideglusib will cause the regeneration of dentine by the natural stem cells present in the pulp cavity, when there is a penetration of the pupal chamber. What this will do is prevent recurring carries (decay) under existing Fillings from turning into crowns and root canals, and prevent recurring carries (decay) under existing crowns from turning into root canals and extractions.

        What it's not doing is growing enamal, Growing enamal i

    • Sugars because they are bad for our teeth, and starches because they are converted to sugars by amylase https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amylase [wikipedia.org].

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:08PM (#53641963)

    Unless they can charge more than they do for fillings (or at least make more profit), I don't see this taking off in the US.

    • They can put it in toothpaste. Let you rub it in every day, like fluoride.

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      The current processes work pretty well. My dentist can get me in the chair, pop in a tooth-colored filling, and get me out in less than 20 minutes, at which time I'm free to eat whatever I want, and it costs only a few hundred dollars. If I have to have a temporary tooth cap, wait ??? weeks for the regrowth to take place, make another appointment to get the cap taken off, pay the patent-inflated price for the magical tooth-growing sponge, and then pray I don't get tooth or bone cancer, I think I'd rather s

      • Yeah but when fillings fall out or crack getting them re-drilled is a PITA. I am sure they can come up with a cap that will dissolve away.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The current processes work pretty well. My dentist can get me in the chair, pop in a tooth-colored filling, and get me out in less than 20 minutes, at which time I'm free to eat whatever I want, and it costs only a few hundred dollars. If I have to have a temporary tooth cap, wait ??? weeks for the regrowth to take place, make another appointment to get the cap taken off, pay the patent-inflated price for the magical tooth-growing sponge, and then pray I don't get tooth or bone cancer, I think I'd rather stick with the old fillings.

        Not to mention that if you read the article, the only time it works is cavities that expose the tooth pulp, which is a very small percentage of cavities. So you are not likely to even have a choice.

        Maybe if they can force this into cracks in the teeth, if the cracks are deep enough, they could heal cracks before they become problematic.

        • by plover ( 150551 )

          To me it looks like the dentist will still have to drill out the cavity to insert the sponge, so I assume he or she would drill to the pulp.

      • Since they're using stem cells from the pulpal chamber, when this would work you're already past fillings and into the crown area, and if it fails to work on you it means a root canal too.

    • This comment doesn't even make sense. If people want it ( I know I would) they will ask for it and you can charge more.
    • If they can do more of this, quicker: then it can take off.
      If they can do it with less overhead but charge relatively the same (or a bit less): then it can take off

    • If it costs more and a dentist tries to use only the new fillings so he can make more profit, patients will simply go to a different cheaper dentist who uses the old fillings.

      If it costs less and a dentist tries to use only the old fillings so he can preserve his profit, people will simply go to a different cheaper dentist who uses the new fillings.

      Either way, the dentist who tries to take the route with larger profit margin will lose customers and probably go broke. And people will be able to get fi
      • If it costs more and a dentist tries to use only the new fillings so he can make more profit, patients will simply go to a different cheaper dentist who uses the old fillings.

        If it costs less and a dentist tries to use only the old fillings so he can preserve his profit, people will simply go to a different cheaper dentist who uses the new fillings.

        Either way, the dentist who tries to take the route with larger profit margin will lose customers and probably go broke.

        Yeah, if only things worked like that when it comes to medicine and dentistry. Usually to get a quote on a procedure from a dentist, you'll need to pay for an exam, which is probably at least $50-100, and if they insist on new X-rays (as many offices do), that's quite a bit more.

        So, you can try out another dentist for a "second opinion," but you'll likely ending up losing any gain in savings (and probably more) by doing the switch.

        My experience talking to friends and family makes it pretty clear how ma

      • You talk like people live in an ideal world so we should also assume perfectly spherical dentists as well.

    • Don't worry, the dentists lobby is strong in Europe as well.
  • Hope (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:09PM (#53641971)

    There are two interesting statements in the article that makes me hope this isn't vaporware.

    Prof Sharpe said a new treatment could be available soon: "I don't think it's massively long term, it's quite low-hanging fruit in regenerative medicine and hopeful in a three-to-five year period this would be commercially available."

    and

    However, the drug has already been trialled in patients as a potential dementia therapy.

    "The safety work has been done and at much higher concentrations so hopefully we're on to a winner," said Prof Sharpe.

    • Re:Hope (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @12:41PM (#53642177)

      Tideglusib (NP-12, NP031112) is a potent, selective and irreversible[1] small molecule non-ATP-competitive GSK3 inhibitor that has been investigated as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease and paralysis supranuclear palsy in Phase IIa and IIb clinical trials. The first clinical trial conducted with tideglusib to be published (in English, at least) was phase II and demonstrated that overall tideglusib was well tolerated, except for some moderate, asymptomatic, fully reversible increases in liver enzymes (2.5xULN; where ULN=Upper Limit of Normal).

      Tideglusib has also been investigated as a way to cause teeth to repair themselves by promoting dentine reinforcement of a sponge structure until the sponge biodegrades, leaving just a solid dentine structure. In 2016 it was successfully trialed for permanently filling 0.14mm holes in mouse teeth and there are hopes that the treatment could be used in humans.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tideglusib

  • NovaMin (Score:3, Informative)

    by kuhnto ( 1904624 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @01:13PM (#53642417)
    Or this could go the path of NovaMin and never be approved by the FDA in the United states. It would not b in the interest of BIG DENTAL.
    • I used a NovaMin toothpaste exclusively for a couple of years in the US before the patents were bought out (not sure by whom) and all products containing it were discontinued.

      It was obviously an aggressive purchase with the sole purpose of pulling NovaMin products from the market. The stuff worked (based on bone regeneration research for the military I believe).

      I'm trying Livionex now, in fact it arrived on my doorstep last evening. Doesn't rebuild anything, but it sure results in clean, smooth teeth. It

      • Re:NovaMin (Score:4, Informative)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Tuesday January 10, 2017 @04:19PM (#53643865)

        I used a NovaMin toothpaste exclusively for a couple of years in the US before the patents were bought out (not sure by whom) and all products containing it were discontinued.

        Novamin patents and the products containing were bought out by GlaxoSmithKline. They continue to make all the products but only in the USA and Germany do they no longer contain Novamin. Even the packaging and product names are the same except for the ingredient list.

        • Thanks for the clarification on who purchased the IP. And so the equation is:

          GSK = Bag of Assholes (a term I came up with a month or so ago, Monsanto is also one).

          I'd probably sell out for $130 million myself though... To be honest.

          • GSK = Bag of Assholes

            Err why? They didn't just buy the patents, they bought the entire company and all their marketed products and they are continuing marketing and selling the products.

            If you want to know why Sensodine doesn't contain Novamin in the USA but does in the UK, ask the FDA, because I'm sure the first thing the company thought was : "let's not sell this awesome thing that makes us money".

            • Why/how were there a dozen products on the US market prior to GSK purchasing the company?

              If it was due to FDA that's one thing, I assumed it was for aggressive purposes.

              • Aggressive purposes would result in more of a push from the company. Critically there are more Novamin containing products elsewhere too. Just not in the USA. There is still a good grey market import business in the USA which is why you can buy Sensodine for $30 tube off ebay while I can get it for $3 at the local supermarket.

                There's probably a bit of what you describe going on, but that's not related to what you're seeing happening in the USA.

  • TIL Osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis [wikipedia.org] is a thing.
    I bet some people would give their eye-teeth for a tooth eye.

    Geeze Louise, The Bard was right when he wrote "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. "
  • "Tideglusib"

    I'm pretty sure I got an offer to buy WoW Gold ingame from someone with that name last night.

  • Not all cavities are 0.13mm or smaller. I'm not a dentist, but aren't most cavities larger than that?
    • Nah, that's just the diameter of a #1/4 round tungsten carbide friction grip dental bur, the smallest they come in, they were working on rat's molars; on human teeth they'd probably use a #4, the #8's are 1.2mm diameter.

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