Dental treatment of the future: where is the journey going??
Until the 19th century, dentistry was not even considered to be a fully-fledged branch of human medicine. Bathers and barbers dealt with the treatment of diseased teeth. Since then, immense scientific and therapeutic advances have been made in this area: local anesthesia, dental implants, prophylaxis and the pain-free and, as a result, even aesthetic treatment of caries have become everyday life for us today. But what can we expect in the future? Teeth from stem cells, vaccination against tooth decay and dental treatment robots – nothing is impossible. All over the world, research is being carried out on new treatment methods.
No more tooth decay?
Caries, colloquially also called tooth decay one of the most common diseases worldwide. Few people are spared holes in the tooth and other devastating effects of the disease throughout their lives. Despite prophylactic treatments, active educational work on oral hygiene in schools and the fluoridation of toothpaste, the epidemic of tooth decay is still spreading. That should change now. Scientists from the Forsyth Institute in Boston have been researching one for over ten years Vaccination against tooth decay. The disease is mostly caused by the bacterium Streptococcus mutans causes, which can increase due to favorable conditions – sufficient carbohydrate intake and an acidic environment in the mouth – and can produce tooth-damaging excretions. The nasal vaccination, i.e. H. as nasal spray administered, should lead to the formation of antibodies against this bacterium, so that the teeth can no longer colonize. The method has already been successful in animal experiments. At best, once the vaccine for human patients hits the market, it should be children administered between the first and second year of life become. During this time, the first harmful bacteria settle in the mouth.
Another method for effective tooth decay control has been developed by scientists from Organobalance GmBH and the Future Business Department at BASF. With special Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus paracasei) the caries pathogen is to be literally rinsed out of the mouth. The lactic acid bacteria that can be contained in toothpaste or mouthwash combine with Streptococcus mutans too small glob, which, when rinsing, are simply spit out. A Croatian company has already launched a toothpaste on the market.
Breeding teeth in the laboratory
Dentures are still expensive and often involve a number of unpleasant treatments and aftercare. Bridges, prostheses and implants may soon be history. For a long time, researchers have been trying to develop a method to remove missing teeth in the laboratory or even directly in jaw to breed. Scientist of the Harvard University in the U.S. were already able to, dentin, that is, the delicate tissue under the tooth enamel, with the help of stem cells and light pulses to grow back. With the help of this procedure, holes that may have arisen due to caries can be closed with natural tooth material in the future.
At the Columbia University, also in the USA, a team of researchers went even further: there they want teeth directly in the jaw to let something grow. This is supposed to be done using a close-meshed framework that can be inserted into the jaw. Are included in the material growth promoting substances, that should create a new tooth. The new tooth takes on the desired shape through the framework. The method has already been successfully tested on rats that grew a new tooth within 9 weeks. In the meantime, the scaffold is also being tested on the first human test subjects.
Of course, such procedures involve certain risks. Apart from ethical concerns about the use of stem cells, is not even sure whether the method can be carried out as effectively in humans as in a laboratory rat. So far, researchers assume that crowning will still be necessary to complete the cultured tooth. They also raise concerns about any cancer risks expressed by uncontrollable cell growth.
Robots are conquering dentistry
Perhaps the profession of dentist will also be completely abolished in the future. The treatment of tooth decay and Co. is then possibly from robots be taken over. The prototype of such a robot is the so-called "Dental machine". The device is firmly anchored in the patient’s mouth. It is with drill, camera, LED and water supply equipped and can quickly drill holes and fill holes. So far, the machine is still dependent on human control, but this should change in the future.
However, until we get to the point where we can grow teeth in the laboratory, be vaccinated against tooth decay and small robots replace our dentists, thorough oral hygiene and regular prophylactic treatments are the best way to shine with a bright white smile into old age.
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