It’s not available at the dentist yet, but if further studies continue to show results as seen in studies of rat, laser light therapy may eliminate the need for root canals by regrowing parts of teeth.
Researchers from Harvard University conducted a study on rats using laser light therapy to stimulate the growth of lost dentin. They found that laser light therapy stimulated stem cells present in dentin to grow. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine this week.
In the study, a group of rats with tooth defects had laser shined to their tooth structure and soft tissue. After 12 weeks, new dentin was observed in the rats’ teeth.
The next step for the group of researchers at Harvard University is to conduct human clinical trials. It currently awaits approval to begin, which could happen within a year.
The success of dentin regeneration through laser light therapy can mean the elimination of the need for crowns, fillings and other uncomfortable dental procedures. There is even potential to grow more protective dentin in teeth when gum recession occurs.
The study involved the use of a low-power laser to trigger regeneration of dentin.
The research for the study was led by David J. Mooney, Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The study was also completed through collaboration with Wyss Institute, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Leder Human Biology and Translational Medicine, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and NIH, Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School’s Department of Dermatology, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology, Boston Children’s Hospital, and New York University School of Medicine.