Laser Treatment Replaces Root Canal Surgery

Will Lasers Treatment Replaces Root Canal Surgery?

Zapping damaged teeth with a low-power laser stimulates  tooth repair according to a research study on laser therapy that was  published on May 28, 2014 in Science Translational Medicine. The beams of light set off a molecular chain reaction that ends with the regeneration of dentin, the tough stuff inside teeth.laser treatment replaces root canal surgery

The study  found that low-power laser therapy can stimulate dental stem cells (cells that have the ability to form into other specialized tooth cells) to create dentin, the tooth layer under enamel, which could lead to a future where laser treatment replaces root canal surgery.

Researchers performed experiments on human dental stem cells to see if laser therapy would stimulate them to produce dentin. They also performed experiments on rodents to see whether laser therapy could increase dentin formation in damaged teeth.

Laser therapy did cause the dental stem cells to grow dentin in human tissue samples and rodents. (this may lead to the future where laser treatment replaces root canal surgery)

The authors report that although regeneration of cardiac, skin, lung and nerve tissue has been seen after low-power laser therapy, this has not been directly linked to stem cells.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are present throughout the body. When they divide, they are capable of replacing themselves with another stem cell while producing cells that take on a specialized form, such as a nerve cell or a skin cell.

In humans, stem cells are constantly being stimulated to turn into cells that replace damaged cells or short lived cells, such as blood cells and cells that line the gut.

However, for other types of cells, such as those found in teeth, this only happens if the right stimulation is given, meaning that if laser treatment replaces root canal surgery, it will take more studies.

This research shows that stem cells can be stimulated to form specialized cells using laser therapy, a low-cost approach compared with existing methods.

Would Laser Treatment Replaces Root Canal Surgery?

Root Canal Surgery has been linked to many types of cancer, 97% of Breast Cancer patients had root canal surgery previous to their cancer diagnosis!

The findings may change the way dentists treat patients, says dental stem cell researcher Peter Murray of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It’s a new application for lasers in dentistry.”

The fact that they were able to get dentin to grow could help alleviate the need for root canal treatment, the painful procedure to remove dead or dying nerve tissue and bacteria from inside a tooth with the laser treatment replaces root canal surgeries.

Health Practitioners who are familiar with the principles of biological dentistry have long known about the link between having root canals, dental problems and degenerative disease, including cancer. Read this article for more on the Root Canal and Cancer Connection.

“I’m a dentist by training. So I think it has potential for great impact in clinical dentistry,” researcher Praveen Arany of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said on Friday.

Arany expressed hope that human clinical trials could get approval in the near future.

“Our treatment modality does not introduce anything new to the body, and lasers are routinely used in medicine and dentistry, so the barriers to clinical translation are low,” added Harvard University bioengineering professor David Mooney. “It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.”

How Stem Cells Are Used Presently

Using existing regeneration methods, scientists must take stem cells from the body, manipulate them in a lab and put them back into the body. This new technique more simply stimulates action in stem cells that are already in place.

Scientists had long noticed that low-level laser therapy can stimulate biological processes like rejuvenating skin and stimulating hair growth but were not sure of the mechanisms.

Arany noted the importance of finding the right laser dose, saying: “Too low doesn’t work and too high causes damage.” High-powered lasers are used for cutting and cauterizing.

The researchers found that laser exposure of the tooth at the right low intensity prompted certain chemically active, oxygen-containing molecules to activate a cell protein known to be involved in development, healing and immune functions.

What Happened During The Study

This protein in turn directed stem cells present in tooth pulp to turn into dentin. This finding may lead to a new root canal alternative. Stem cells are master cells that are capable of transforming into various types of tissues in the body.

The researchers drilled holes in the molars of the rodents, zapped the tooth pulp with the laser and put on temporary caps, then watched as dentin formed over a period of 12 weeks. Without the regrowth a root canal would have to be performed to clean out the living matter within the tooth.  A root canal leaves a tooth dead.

The question is whether using this method could get other stem cells to become useful in laser-induced regenerative medicine. Arany said he was hopeful it could be used in healing wounds, regenerating cardiac tissue, dealing with inflammation issues and fixing bone damage, among other applications.

Exiting Potential For Laser Light Therapy 

The researchers concluded that laser therapy can activate growth factors, which then stimulates stem cells and causes tissue regeneration. They conclude that this is possible for human dental cells in the laboratory and dental cells in rats.

They concluded that, ”More broadly, this work outlines a mechanistic basis for harnessing resident stem cells with a light-activated endogenous cue for clinical regenerative applications.”

In other words, they believe that this technique could be used to stimulate stem cells that are already present in the human body to grow into all sorts of tissues in the future as well as using it as a dental tool for a laser treatment replaces root canal surgery, although this alternative root canal would not happen for many years to come.

They were also excited that, “The ability to activate endogenous components in a controlled, self-limiting manner is a critical aspect of this potential therapeutic modality because both ROS [free radicals] and TGF-1 in excessive amounts are potentially deleterious.”
The study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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