A way to repair tooth enamel

A way to repair tooth enamel
Snapshot of the repairing experiment on a human tooth. Credit: Zhejiang University

A team of researchers from Zhejiang University and Xiamen University has found a way to repair human tooth enamel. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their process and how well it worked when tested.

Humans have battled for thousands of years—the longer we live, the more challenging the problem becomes. Many consumables lead to loss of the hard enamel that protects teeth from decay—and once lost, it never grows back. The current standard treatment involves removal of rotted tooth material and filling the cavity with a hard replacement material. For many years, scientists have sought a way to replace once it is lost—but until now, such efforts have not led to a suitable replacement. In this new effort, the researchers in China report that they have at long last found a solution.

To repair tooth enamel, the researchers first created extremely tiny (1.5-nanometer diameter) clusters of calcium phosphate, the main ingredient of natural enamel. Each of the tiny clusters was then prepared with the triethylamine—doing so prevented the clusters from clumping together. The clusters were then mixed with a gel that was applied to a sample of crystalline hydroxyapatite—a material very similar to human enamel. Testing showed that the clusters fused with the stand-in, and in doing so, created a layer that covered the sample. They further report that the layer was much more tightly arranged than prior teams had achieved with similar work. They claim that such tightness allowed the new material to fuse with the old as a single layer, rather than multiple crystalline areas.

  • A way to repair tooth enamel
    Scanning electron microscope images of human tooth enamel after repairing for 6 hours, 12 hours and 48 hours. The blue area is the native enamel, and the green area is the repaired enamel. The black scale bars are 1 μm. Credit: Zhejiang University
  • A way to repair tooth enamel
    Snapshot of an individual human tooth. The left part is the non-repaired area (displayed as dark) and the right part is the repaired area by our material (displayed as yellow, the color is induced by a fluorescent chemical label so as to have a better contrast). Both insets are scanning electron microscope images of enamel. The white scale bars are 1 μm. Credit: Zhejiang University

The team then carried out the same type of testing using real human teeth that had been treated with acid to remove the enamel. They report that within 48 hours of application, crystalline layers of approximately 2.7 micrometers had formed on the teeth. Close examination with a microscope showed that the had a fish-scale like structure very similar to that of natural enamel. Physical testing showed the enamel to be nearly identical to natural in strength and wear resistance.

The researchers note that more work is required before their technique can be used by dentists—primarily to make sure that it does not have any undesirable side effects.


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More information: Changyu Shao et al. Repair of tooth enamel by a biomimetic mineralization frontier ensuring epitaxial growth, Science Advances (2019). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw9569
Journal information: Science Advances

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Citation: A way to repair tooth enamel (2019, September 2) retrieved 17 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-09-tooth-enamel.html
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User comments

Sep 02, 2019
"The researchers note that more work is required before their technique can be used by dentists—primarily to make sure that it does not have any undesirable side effects."

Such as being put in toothpaste-form and eliminating denists. There are already enamel re-mineralization toothpastes, containing nano-particulate calcium hydroxyapatite. It doesn't, at present, fully re-grow tooth enamel, but it does replace loss in the matrix. What surprises me is how very few brands actually are sold of the stuff.

Incidentally, don't mix fluoride and hydroxyapatite regimens: the former competes with the latter for remineralization attachment-sites and defeats the whole purpose.

Sep 02, 2019
SO, Dan...
What ARE the few Brands?

Sep 02, 2019
SO, Dan...
What ARE the few Brands?
I like SEYSSO but looking for a change, if any

Sep 02, 2019
SEYSSO is an electric toothbrush not a tooth paste.. So what give??

Sep 03, 2019
SEYSSO is an electric toothbrush not a tooth paste.. So what give??

"SEYSSO Oxygen Remineralize & Repair Toothpaste"

Sep 03, 2019
Crystal Toothpaste

Enamel is the hardest substance we have
Mainly hydroxyapatite
A crystalline calcium phosphate
Enamel that forms on the tooth
Within our jaw bone
Before it erupts
As enamel does not contain nerves or blood vessels
Remineralisation of our teeth can repair some damage
Anything further
Then it's Stars in Glass at Bedtime!

Until now, that is
Hot foot, back from their Moonchine
These Moonchinians
From Zhejiang University and Xiamen University
Have
Developed: Crystalline Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

Crystal Toothpaste

Sep 15, 2019
ah, just cap them all and no worries.

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