REGROW YOUR ROTTEN TEETH; New cavity cure could put an end to fillings.
FILLINGS could soon be a thing of the past, as scientists develop a way to make decayed teeth regenerate and "heal".
The technique involves implanting crystals into cavities. Once perfected, it will eliminate the need for fillings.
Instead, enamel and dentin - the materials that make teeth so strong - will be regrown from the crystals, which are contained in a calcium solution.
The key will be to spot the decay early enough for dentists to get teeth to grow healthy tooth-matter.
Professor Sally Marshall, who is leading the research at the University of California at San Francisco, said: "What we're hoping to have happen is to catch decaying teeth early and remineralise them."
The ability to use the body's own building materials would be a boon to dentists, who have been fixing cavities with metal fillings since the 1840s.
Acids, like those produced by bacteria or sugary foods, demineralise the enamel coating of the teeth, allowing bacteria to break through to the dentin inside.
This turns the dentin mushy and useless, causing a cavity.
Prof Marshall's work focuses on regrowing the dentin using the calcium solution.
She has already been able to use it to remineralise some parts of test teeth and is confident it will soon be possible to repair entire teeth.
The research was unveiled at the spring meeting of the Materials Research Society.
FILLER KILLER: Sally Marshall is healing teeth