Welcome back! Thanks for coming back to get the rest of the exciting news about this new therapy. As you may recall from last week, we talked about a new study report that was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and it talked about some research into using laser to regrow dentin. I think this is all so exciting — especially for those of us who have had experiences in our pasts (and maybe in our present) that include dental fillings, crowns and root canals…to name a few. So, let’s get right to the additional exciting information I promised about this new process.
Some History on Stem Cell Research
I know you have heard about stem cell research and some of the stories have been pretty gruesome. This area of medicine has its share of stem research stories but they have pretty much been centered on ways to engineer stem cells to prod tissue regeneration. Most of these techniques have involved re-introducing changed stem cells into the patient or by guiding stem cell populations externally by adding growth factors. This new process or technique isn’t introducing anything externally except the laser light which turns on the TGF-beta that already lives in the body.
How It Works
Apparently, it isn’t the heat from the laser that does the “turning-on” but rather the energy of its photons. When the laser light is focused on dentin, the photons get absorbed into the tissue and are said to activate molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that naturally occur in the body. The ROS turns on the TGF-beta which, in turn, prods the chain reaction that eventually leads to dentin reformation. It must be noted here that it’s kind of like Goldilocks in the Three Bears story…too little won’t work and too much is destructive. The power of the laser must be at a specific level of intensity and must not produced ANY heat for it to be effective.
More Exciting News
Not only could this technique alter modern dentistry as we know it, but researchers say that the TGF-beta protein can be found in other body tissues as well. Tissues like skin and bone, for example, could be regrown using this technique. They also point out that TGF-beta is known to control inflammation of tissue. This opens the door to the potential of using the growth factor to control certain inflammatory diseases. But, alas, these uses are truly further down the road than the potential use for dentistry.
Many dental clinics already use laser in their various treatments of gum disease. Your Periodontist on Long Island is one of those dental professionals who use laser to treat gum disease. Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit on the web at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.