A root canal can be a literal lifesaver for an infected tooth, but the process does involve cutting off the blood supply, robbing that particular tusk of its natural defenses. According to Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and director of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners, "there is a way to fabricate new blood vessels in teeth, which may offer a way for them to regain important functionality".
A root canal is typically called for when tissue inside the tooth, called the pulp, becomes inflamed or infected and causes problems such as decay, cracks or chips. It involves removing this infected tissue and replacing it with a synthetic material encased by a protective crown.
"This process eliminates the tooth's blood and nerve supply, rendering it lifeless and void of any biological response or defense mechanism," says Dr. Johnson. "Without this functionality, adult teeth may be lost much sooner, which can result in much greater concerns, such as the need for dentures or dental implants. Often we are doing implant dentistry on failed root canals".
In coming up with a solution, researchers developed a way to bio-print artificial vascular networks that imitate the body's circulatory system. This involves using a bio-printer to create tiny fibers that serve as a mold, which for the purposes of this research were made from sugar molecules.
This mould was then laid across the root canal of an extracted human tooth and injected with a gel-like material filled with dental pulp cells. After that, the fiber was removed to leave a small channel along the root canal, into which endothelial cells taken from the interior lining of the blood vessels were inserted. After seven days, the researchers report that dentin-producing cells, which is one of the four tissues making up human teeth, started forming near the tooth walls, and that artificial blood vessels began forming inside the tooth.
"This result proves that fabrication of artificial blood vessels can be a highly effective strategy for fully regenerating the function of teeth," says Bertassoni, the lead researcher on the project. "We believe that this finding may change the way that root canal treatments are done in the future.
Although this technique is yet to be available to the public, it may offer an opportunity to save teeth naturally. When considering any of your dental your options, remember that reputation and expertise matter. Dr. Johnson is perennially regarded as one of Boston's best dentists and had been providing outstanding dental care, to people who seek and expect excellence, since 1986. See a specialist...the difference will make you smile.
Source: New Atlas