Everyone hates dentists, right? Fear of dentists is almost embedded in our psyche. We didn’t love them when we were kids and we sure don’t like them now. It’s a bit irrational since they are trained professionals which help us solve a medical problem, yet we can’t get the buzzing and drilling sounds and pain out of our heads. For quite a long time, science has been looking for a way to replace the methodology with something a bit less invasive and it may finally be on the verge of a solution.
The teeth are the hardest bone in the human body. Their density is incomparable to the density of any other bone. However, acids and tooth decay constantly chip away at the tooth’s protective sheath (enamel) which leads to major problems. Fixing them is costly and most importantly painful which is why no one likes going to the dentist. Well, rejoice dentophobiacs! Soon, we might not even have to.
A team of Chinese scientists has recently found a way to develop a liquid solution that might “regrow” the enamel on our teeth and keep our chippers safe and sound. The team developed a material that mimics the tooth mineralization process that may forever revolutionize the dental industry. The gel makes our enamel repair itself and the biomineralization process fixes any kind of problem.
This process involves cells known as ameloblasts that are destined to become tooth enamel. The only problem with them is that the body only develops them when we’re very young. In adulthood, it ceases instantly. That’s where the new gel comes in.
The research was conducted at the Zhejiang University of School Medicine in China. The team of scientists combined ions of two minerals found in enamel (phosphate and calcium) to develop a liquid solution that prevents the ions from clumping together. In the tests, the gel was applied to human teeth (donated), it managed to “fuse” with the structure of the enamel resulting in a new layer that’s virtually and structurally indistinguishable from the natural thing.
Similar studies were done before, yet the crystalline nature of the product made them fail. The Zhejiang team managed to stabilize the particles with a chemical in an ethanol solution, resulting in the development of the new gel.
Everyone in the dental industry is excited by this ground-breaking research. Zhaoming Liu, one of the co-authors of the study, believes that the gel will forever change the way we “fix” our teeth. Before that happens, however, the study must pass human trials. The team hopes to do this in the next couple of years if everything goes well. If it hits the market in the next 5-10 years, we could be looking at the end of the dreaded tooth drilling and fillings.
Of course, until the gel is thoroughly tested, it won’t be able to “hit the shelves”. Until then, you shouldn’t wait for a miracle – you still need to visit your dentist regularly. Preventing the damage and decay in the first place should be your priority over going to the dentist. To do this, make sure to brush and floss regularly and pay better attention to your teeth and oral health.