Is it Possible to Regrow Teeth Enamel?

According to the National Institutes of Health the most prevalent form of chronic disease is tooth decay. Janet Moradian-Oldak at USC has  investigated methods to regrow tooth enamel which is a difficult undertaking as tooth enamel is not a living tissue. She collaborated with Sauma Prajapati and others to investigate matrix metalloproteinase-20, an enzyme found only in teeth which facilitate organized enamel crystal formation. Her team is the first to define the function of an enzyme for preventing protein occlusion inside a crystal. MMP-20 is released at a very early stage of enamel formation. MMP-20 chops up proteins during the crystallization of enamel. Together with other enzymes, it gets rid of ‘sludge’ so the enamel making cells in the body can add more mineral and make enamel, the hardest bioceramic in the human body. The team also looked an amelogenin-chitosan hydrogel which could repair early tooth decay by growing an enamel-like layer that reduces lesions by up to 70%. The team feels that MMP-20 can help in understanding the mechanisms of enamel formation and help in dental restoration and repair. The researchers feel that one day it may be possible for people to use an overnight mouth guard or teeth strips saturated with hydrogel to regrow enamel-like substances […]

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Does the Sound of the Toothbrush Brushing Effect Quality?

A group  of researchers in Japan have discovered that how effectively we clean our teeth and how satisfied we are with quality of the brushing depends on the sound of the bristles scrubbing against the enamel.  The team used a tiny microphone in a modified toothbrush to ‘sample’ the sound being made in the mouth during brushing and to modulate it and then feed that sound back to a group of volunteers via headphones to see what effect the sound has on cleaning efficacy and satisfaction. The team found that if they manipulated the pitch, or loudness and frequency, of the brushing sound they could change the volunteers’ perception of comfort experienced and accomplishment of brushing. It was also demonstrated that if they gradually increased the frequency as teeth cleaning progressed, the volunteers felt like the process was more comfortable and at the end of brushing that their teeth were cleaner. The researchers feel that it may be possible to motivate users to perform regular brushing to help avoid them in developing cavities. It seems the researchers would like to develop a special toothbrush to manipulate the frequency of tooth brushing sounds. Right now their prototype requires someone to wear headphones. The researches think that […]

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No Drill Dentistry Can Prevent Tooth Decay

Research published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology has shown that the need for fillings can be reduced by 30 to 50% through preventative oral care. This means that many previous fillings are not needed when dental decay occurs. As such a preventative approach can be beneficial when compared to current dental practices. Dentistry has been traditionally practiced with the believe that tooth decay rapidly progressed and the best way to manage it was to identify early decay and remove it quickly to prevent the tooth surface form developing cavities. After the decay is removed the tooth is restored with a filling material. Fifty years of research studies have shown that decay is not always progressive and develops more slowly than previously thought. It can take an average of four to eight years for decay to progress from the tooth’s outer layer to the tooth’s inner layer. As such quickly moving in to make a filling may not be the best approach.   The study’s author Wendell Evans and his team developed the Caries Management System which is a set of protocols which cover the specific treatment of early decay, the assessment of decay risk, and the interpretation of dental X-rays. The ‘no-drill’ treatment […]

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Should Patients Be Told Of Trainee Role in Their Surgery?

An interesting article titled “Should Patients Be Told of Resident Role in Their Surgery?” appears in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery written by James R. Hupp (2015, vol., 73, pp. 2071-2073). The article discusses how early July is the beginning of a new academic year in most hospital-based medical and dental residency programs. During this time many new doctors obtain clinical education. Hospital based dental residency programs often involved a lot of surgical procedures. The article questions if patients should be told of the residents potential role (and lack of experience) in their own surgery. The saying goes that one should try to avoid going to the emergency room or have surgery the first week of July or even all of July. The common thought is that the large amount of new trainees increases the chances of patient problems. In actuality, most first-year residents are given limited or no surgical responsibilities in the first few months of training. The author states “Most of us would want to know who will be in charge of our procedure and what role residents will play. Should this information always be shared with our patients? This is where informing the patient can enter a gray area.” Of course if one goes to a teaching hospital they may […]

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Complications Associated with Coronectomy

An interesting article titled “What Are the Types and Frequencies of Complications Associated With Mandibular Third Molar Coronectomy? A Follow-Up Study,” appears in the 2015 Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (vol. 73, pp. 1246-1253) and written by Giuseppe Monaco. The article explores the likelyhood of complications occuring with coronectomy procedures. Coronectomy is an alternative surgical procedure to extract wisdom teeth with roots that are close to the mandibular canal. The article describes a research study  to determine whether coronectomy decreased neurologic damage in cases of mandibular third molars in close proximity to the inferior alveolar nerve. The study looked at 94 healthy patients with a mean age of ~30 who had 116 mandibular third molars (wisdom teeth) treated with coronectomy. A total of 28 patients dropped out of the study during the 3 year follow up period. Of the 116 wisdom teeth treated, 56 (48.3%) were totally impacted and 60 (51.7%) were partially impacted. The teeth were treated by coronectomy due to having pericoronitis (47.4%), periodontal disease (18.1%), or both of the mentioned diseases (32.9%). No neurological injuries occurred to the inferior alveolar nerve or to the lingual nerve with the coronectomy procedures. A total of 30 complications occurred […]

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