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New gel found to heal cavities

July 12, 2010

A fascinating new discovery might be the biggest breakthrough in dental history!  A peptide known as melanocyte-stimulating hormone, or MSF, has been found to encourage bone regeneration.  When embedded in a gel or film and applied to the teeth, the MSF can actually rebuild the tooth enamel lost from cavities!  What makes this technology so amazing is that in the future it might replace dental procedures like root canals and fillings. The French research team at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale first tested their theory on mice with cavity-filled teeth.  After a month of applying the gel, the cavities were gone.  The gel, in the course of a month, rebuilds the tooth from the inside. The gel is not like a toothpaste though, its effectiveness lies in healing cavities, not preventing them.  Patients will still have to follow proper oral hygiene like brushing and flossing to avoid getting cavities in the first place.  But with the gel, dentists can avoid the use of drills, fillings, and crowns while keeping the nerves and blood vessels safe and the tooth strong. Even better is that general fear of the dentist will go down, especially of the dreaded drill, since a small dab of a clear gel is very much non-invasive and completely safe and painless.  And if patients are less apprehensive about seeing the dentist, dental health will definitely improve around the country. Unfortunately, this technology won’t be available for quite some time, and even then, regenerating a tooth from within would only be useful in a relatively small number of cases, and most cavities will probably still need to be drilled and filled like normal.  And like previously said, this gel will not prevent cavities, so proper oral hygiene will still need to be followed. Interestingly, there are other products known to rebuild the tooth structure, though not to the same strength and extent as the MSF gel.  There are toothpastes that remineralize the tooth to lessen sensitivities and strengthen the enamel.  One of these is the Dr.Collins Restore Toothpaste, which contains NovaMin, a calcium phosphorus ion that remineralizes and reduces hypersensitivity.  Either way, dentistry is certainly changing right before our eyes, and the future is looking bright (just like our teeth).