Laser Triggers Stem Cells to Self-Repair Teeth

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Alternative Health Care, Health with 0 Comments

Richard Moss | gizmag | May 29 2014

Ranking among the X-Men probably isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, but who wouldn’t want their uncanny ability to regenerate lost bone or tissue? New research into tooth repair and stem cell biology, from a cross-institution team led by David Mooney of Harvard’s Wyss Institute, may bring such regeneration one step closer to reality – or at the very least, give us hope that we can throw away those nasty dentures.


The researchers employed a low-power laser to trigger human dental stem cells to form dentin, a hard bone-like tissue that is one of four major components of teeth (the others being enamel, pulp, and cementum). This kind of low-level light therapy has previously been used to remove or stimulate hair growth and to rejuvenate skin cells, but the mechanisms were not well understood, results varied, and evidence of its efficacy was largely anecdotal.

The new work is the first to document the molecular mechanism involved, thus laying the foundations for controlled treatment protocols in not only restorative dentistry but also avenues like bone regeneration and wound healing. “The scientific community is actively exploring a host of approaches to using stem cells for tissue regeneration efforts,” said Wyss Institute Founding Director Don Ingber. “Dave [Mooney] and his team have added an innovative, noninvasive, and remarkably simple but powerful tool to the toolbox.”

To test the team’s hypothesis, Praveen Arany, an assistant clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health, drilled holes in the molars of rats and mice, then treated them with low-dose lasers and temporary caps. Around 12 weeks later, tests confirmed that the laser treatments triggered enhanced dentin formation.

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