Doctors at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have developed a stem cell hydrogel designed to keep teeth alive following a root canal. This revolutionary, biological hydrogel is said to stimulate angiogenesis, which is the growth of blood vessels, and this key factor could help teeth remain both alive and more fortified, compared to a traditional root canal treatment. When patients require root canals, the decay inside the pulpal chamber and canals is cleared and replaced with gutta percha. This eliminates the infection, but also renders the tooth dead typically leading to the loss of the tooth entirely later on. The hydrogel, seeded with dental pulp stem cells and working in conjunction with the hydrogel’s promotion of angiogenesis, has the potential to repopulate the tooth with living, functioning dental pulp and restoring function to the tooth.
Scientists from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University have developed a treatment that takes advantage of the unique regenerative characteristics of stem cells to enable teeth to heal themselves. The treatment represents an advancement over the current methods to treat severe cavities by eliminating the need for root canals. By stimulating the dental stem cells [mesenchymal stem cells] within the tooth, the growth of dentin, the bony material that makes up the majority of the tooth, is encouraged. This allows patients to regrow damaged teeth effectively.