Drug For Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment Might Replace Tooth Filling Dental Procedure

First Posted: Jan 12, 2017 03:20 AM EST

Most people hate going through long, pain-stacking dental filling procedures. But they have to undergo the pain since there is no other alternative to it. Scientists at King's College London have discovered that the enzyme inhibitor drugs used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease can help in stimulating natural repair mechanisms in the tooth canal by activating the stem cells present in the tooth pulp.

The researchers woking on the Wnt/β-cat tissue repair signaling pathways found that the glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) inhibitor molecules can help in activating the tooth pulp stem cells, which can naturally repair the damaged dental tissues and eliminate the need of undergoing tooth filling procedures.

GSK-3 has been linked with the occurrence of many chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease and bipolar disorder. Administration of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) inhibitor can help in the treatment of these diseases. However, its role in self-healing of dental impairments has never been indicated previously, New Atlas reported.

Paul Sharpe, lead investigator of the project, said that, "The inhibitor activates a signalling pathway that stimulates stem cells in the tooth to make specialized cells that carry out the repair."

Tooth injury causes the exposure of the soft inner tooth pulp, which multiplies the chances of infection in the dental tissues. The natural defense mechanism of the body helps in producing a layer of tough, thin, protective dentine that seals the injury and prevents infection. If the natural defense of the body falls short on repairing the injury, the dentists try to fill the hole with artificial cements.

The researchers tested the efficiency of biodegradable collagen sponges ladened with small doses of different types of GSK-3 inhibitors in naturally repairing the holes. The sponges are gradually degraded and are replaced with dentine.

The widespread application of this technique can not only save millions of people from undergoing the post filling hassles such as the secondary infections and fillings being dislodged, which demands multiple visits to the dentist.

Sharpe said, "The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine."

"In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics," he added.

The study was published in the Scientific Reports journal. According to the researchers, the technique can easily be adopted by dentists because the collagen sponges are safe and are commercially available. Furthermore, the GSK-3 inhibitor drugs like Tideglusib for Alzheimer's disease treatment are already in clinical trial stage.

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