Drugs used for one disease or condition has found the be useful in some other conditions as well and this has been found true in the case of a drug used for Alzheimer’s. This drug, when used in teeth with dental caries has been found to activate the stem cells in tooth feeling in regenerating dentin.
Researchers at King’s College London found that the drug “Tideglusib” used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s stimulates stem cells present in teeth so that they generate new dentine which helps in preventing pulp involvement. Although Dentin is found to be generated there is no information regarding the regeneration of Enamel as per the study. From the images below courtesy Kings college, we see the result of Dentin formation as seen after 6 weeks where dentin formation is clearly seen.
We use certain materials to help grow a thin layer of dentin when there is pin point exposure of pulp without any infection to it. But with this new drug when tested on lab rats, the results were profound where the dentin which was affected by caries was grown back when Tideglusib was placed in the tooth with the help of a sponge which disintegrated on its own over time. This is possible because Tideglusib switches off the enzyme called “GSK-3” which prevents dentine from forming after the growth stage is completed.
“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,” said Prof Paul Sharpe, the study’s lead author, of the Dental Institute, at King’s College London. “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.”
So will this completely eliminate the use of Dental cements and restorative materials if this comes into the market as a commercial product? I must say No, as this method only helps in regenerating Dentin but not the outer layer of the tooth – Enamel which should be restored with the help of a restorative material. There will also be restrictions based on the extent of caries and if there is pulpal involvement with infection it might not be useful.With the many factors involved it might take some time to complete all the testing phases and trials to come into the market.