Lasers to regrow damaged teeth

(Imagery from a scanning electron microscope was used to assess tooth regrowth.)

“When you damage a tooth, your dentist usually uses a filling or a crown to patch it up. But eventually, researchers say that your dentist might just point a laser at it, encouraging the tooth to regrow on its own. While it’s no surprise that light causes reactions in the human body, some researchers have been trying to determine whether specific wavelengths of light might be able to trigger specific healing properties when focused on a certain area of the body. In this case, the researchers pointed an infrared laser at a hole drilled into a rat’s tooth and found that it encouraged dentin — the material that makes up a tooth’s core — to grow back more than it otherwise would have.

 “The research was led from Harvard’s Wyss Institute and is being published today inScience Translational Medicine. “Lasers are routinely used in medicine and dentistry, so the barriers to clinical translation are low,” David Mooney, the research team’s leader, says in a statement. “It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.”




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