Lasers could help teeth fix themselves
Low-power lasers may be an effective way of helping teeth repair themselves, according to new research.
Scientists from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences conducted a follow-up study to previous research that found that laser treatment is able to trigger the formation of dentin—the bone-hard tissue that makes up the majority of human teeth.
The Harvard researchers focused on what happens during this process at the molecular level. They found that a key component of how dental stem cells were triggered to grow into dentin was the role of a cell protein called transforming growth factor beta-1. When the laser light was administered, a domino effect resulted in the activation of the cell protein, and that resulted in stem cells developing into dentin. The study is the first to reveal the molecular mechanisms involved in the effects of lasers on tissue.
The findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggest that laser treatments could be used for healing wounds and regenerating bones and teeth. Scientists are now planning safety and efficacy tests for human trials for laser treatment.