Scientists Stimulate Dental Stem Cells With Laser

May 29, 2014

Brett Smith for Your Universe Online

Researchers led by a team from Harvard University have successfully used a low-power laser to stimulate stem cell differentiation within the body, according to a study published on Wednesday by Science Translational Medicine.

[ Watch the Video: What Are Stem Cells? ]

The study team used a laser to stimulate dental stem cells and cause them to form dentin the hard tissue that makes up the majority of a tooth. The study was also able to identify and describe the molecular mechanism behind the growth process.

Study author David Mooney noted that the work could eventually lead to testing of a non-invasive dental procedure.

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, said Mooney, a professor of bioengineering at Harvards School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in a recent statement. It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them.

The study team began by drilling holes in the molars of rodents. Next, the team treated the tooth pulp containing dental stem cells with a low-power laser, applied short term caps, and kept the animals secure and in good health. After around 12 weeks, observations confirmed that the treatment regimen induced improved dentin development.

It was definitely my first time doing rodent dentistry, said study author Dr. Praveen Arany, a clinical investigator at the National Institutes of Health. The dentin was strikingly similar in composition to normal dentin, but did have slightly different morphological organization.

Moreover, the typical reparative dentin bridge seen in human teeth was not as readily apparent in the minute rodent teeth, owing to the technical challenges with the procedure, he added.

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Scientists Stimulate Dental Stem Cells With Laser

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