Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Self-Healing Teeth

By Dr. Doyle Williams

There’s exciting news on the dental research front!  Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry have come up with a new dental filling that kills bacteria and regenerates teeth harmed by cavities.  The research team still has to finish conducting tests before the fillings are approved for general use, but this innovation sounds especially promising.

As you know from reading this blog, cavities are a bacterial infection. After your dentist drills out the infected area, there are always some residual bacteria hanging around in this non-sterile environment of the mouth. These bacteria can cause more cavities down the road (which is why dental care professionals are so adamant about having you brush and floss-- to keep your mouth as bacteria-free as is possible). The new fillings have an antibacterial ingredient that will kill the left-over bacteria. They also stimulate healing of the affected tooth which causes a new healthy layer of tooth beneath the filling. And since these new fillings are supposed to last longer than traditional fillings, they should help you keep your teeth healthier longer.

New developments like this work at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry are always exciting for us to see. They are making it possible for dental care professionals to find early decay and fix it before it progresses to become a bigger and more painful problem. Our DentaQuest Oral Health Center, is using this new scientific knowledge to help their patients to reduce the level of the decay-causing bacteria in their mouths. Instead of just placing fillings after decay has already progressed to a cavity, they use other measures, like changes in diet, fluoride varnish, healthy sugars like xylitol or protective sealants, to stop early decay, help the tooth heal without any drilling, and then make it more resistant to future decay.

DentaQuest is committed to this prevention-focused approach to better oral health.