Last week many media outlets reported that nanotechnology made a gel that can regenerate teeth and make dental fillings obsolete. Is this true?
A group of French scientists within the field of nanotechnology recently made big headlines all over the world, when they published a study about a nanotechnology gel that could regenerate teeth. The research was by several media outlets interpreted to mean that dental fillings would soon be made obsolete by this new breakthrough in nanotechnology. It was reported that the gel could just be added to the cavity of the tooth and that the tooth would then repair itself without ever needing a filling. Is this true? Is nanotechnology really this close to replacing dental fillings as the primary treatment of tooth cavities?
The fact of the matter in this case is that nanotechnology is not about to replace dental fillings. The research was about how to regenerate the pulp inside the tooth and not the crown itself. The pulp of the tooth consists of nerves and blood vessels. It is a live tissue in contrast to the tooth enamel which consists of approximately 96% inorganic material. Sometimes the dental pulp becomes infected due to deep cavities or trauma. When the dental pulp becomes infected it will start to die and so far the only treatment of this condition has been to remove the dental pulp and replace it with a soft material called gutta-percha. After such a root canal treatment the tooth will be dead and is now weaker than before. It will often be necessary to protect the now more fragile tooth with a dental crown to prevent it from breaking or cracking.
What the French nanotechnology researchers might have discovered is a way to regenerate the dying pulp so that the tooth won’t have to die. By using a multilayered, nano-sized film — only 1/50,000th the thickness of a human hair containing a substance called alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone, or alpha-MSH the nanotechnology scientists have proved that they can fight inflammation and increase the number of dental pulp fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are the cells inside the dental pulp that regenerate the pulp fibres and are the main type of cell found in dental pulp.
Hopefully this new breakthrough within nanotechonology – which has so far only been tested on laboratory rats – will in time reduce the need for root canal therapy.
It has been said that a toothache is the most intense pain that can be experienced. What causes a toothache, why is it so painful and what can be done?
It has been said that a toothache is the most intense pain that can be experienced. In fact, a really bad toothache can feel like your head is exploding. What causes a toothache and why is it so painful?
The causes of toothache
A toothache is the result when the nerve of a tooth has become infected. This infection is most commonly caused by a deep cavity, but can also be the result of a trauma to the tooth or a very severe case of periodontal disease. When a toothache is really bad, it can be difficult to locate where exactly the pain is coming from. Sometimes the pain of a toothache feels like it is coming from the ears or the jaw. If your tooth is very sensitive to hot and cold (and maybe sweet) or if it is painful to bite on the tooth, an infected root is a very probable cause and even if you don’t have a toothache at present, it might be on it’s way. But why is a toothache so painful?
Why a toothache hurts so bad
When your finger is infected, it normally swells up because of your body’s own immune response. This is possible because the tissues in your finger are relatively soft and flexible. When you have an infection in a tooth, the immune response is the same – but a tooth cannot swell up the same way as a finger can. The infection is caught inside the hard tissues of the tooth, causing a very large pressure. This is the reason for the intense toothache. When the pressure gets too high, the infection will start to work it’s way out of the tooth through the root and into the surrounding bone structure. From here it will continue to push it’s way out through the hard tissues. At this point the toothache is especially painful. Eventually you might develop an abscess, which can normally be seen in the mouth around the area of the root of the tooth which is infected. Sometimes the abscess is even outside the mouth under the chin. When the abscess bursts, the pressure is off and many people feel an instant relief from the toothache. This does not mean that the problem is solved, however. The reason for the toothache – the infection – is still there and treatment is necessary.
What can be done about a toothache?
There are only two ways of treating an infected tooth effectively. The simple solution is to pull out the tooth. Since most people feel that it is best to keep their teeth as long as possible, however, the more common treatment – when possible – is root canal therapy. In some cases it is necessary to combine the treatment with antibiotics.
Whether you are experiencing a toothache now, have experienced a toothache in the past or are hoping to avoid a toothache in the future, your teeth will benefit very much from a routine of good dental hygiene and regular check-ups at the dentist or dental hygienist.
You eat with them. You speak with them. You smile with them. In fact, you spend most of your life with them. What are they? Your teeth.
As long as they don’t cause you pain or problems, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your teeth. They are, however, a very important member of your body and deserve your care and attention.
Good dental health starts early in your life with good habits for dental hygiene and regular visits at the dentist. Dental health, though, has nothing to do with how many fillings you have or how many (or few) teeth you have left. Dental health is about the condition of your teeth and gums right here and now. Even a mouth with only very few teeth can be healthy, if good dental hygiene is maintained. At the same time a mouth full of pearly-white teeth can be diseased and unhealthy if for some reason the oral hygiene is suffering.
This website has been established to help you achieve and/or maintain good dental health. If you treat your teeth well, they will be your loyal partners for life.