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News / July 1, 2014

Laser hope for dentine regeneration

by Guy Hiscott

A team of US scientists has discovered how to use wavelengths of light to regenerate broken or damaged teeth.

The team used a low-power laser to trigger human dental stem cells to form dentine.

David Mooney, Wyss Instititue core faculty member, hopes this different approach to regeneration will be ‘easier to get into the hands of practising clinicians.’

He said: ‘Our treatment modality does not introduce anything new to the body, and lasers are routinely used in medicine and dentistry, so the barriers to clinical translation are low.

‘It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.’

Lead author and assistant clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Praveen Arany headed the study by using a laser light to trigger stem cells in a rat’s broken tooth.

After about 12 weeks, X-ray imaging and microscopy confirmed that the laser treatments triggered the enhanced dentine formation, which transformed molecules and set off a ‘domino effect’.

The study is the first time scientists have discovered the molecular mechanism involved in low-level laser treatments, but they have yet to test it on humans.

Arany aims to take the study to human clinical trials, adding: ‘We are excited about expanding these observations to other regenerative applications with other types of stem cells.’