What It Is
Regenerative endodontics is a form of root canal treatment in which the damaged tooth root and associated dental tissues are replaced by biological products instead of artificial products. In regenerative endodontics, the dentist either inserts biologically active ingredients into your tooth pulp or stimulates the existing tissues so that they can grow and strengthen the root of your tooth. This is a serious departure from the traditional endodontic treatment that uses artificial materials to rill the tooth root after the damaged and dead tissues are removed.
Why It's Needed
Calcium hydroxide is the main artificial treatment used to seal the root of a tooth after root canal treatment. It usually works, and it is better than not sealing the tooth at all, but it does have its limitations. For example, it takes a long time for the calcium hydroxide to harden enough to form a calcified barrier that cannot be penetrated by external germs. Secondly, the calcium hydroxide typically has to be reapplied several times, which calls for multiple dental appointments. Lastly, the calcium hydroxide may affect the mechanical properties of the dentin (the hard bone-like tissue just below the enamel) in the long run. It is for these reasons that researchers have come up with the alternative treatment of regenerative endodontics.
The Key Components
Regenerative endodontics is a form of tissue engineering, and there are three key components needed to execute it fully; these include:
These are "young" cells of the body that have not differentiated into specific cell types, which means they can multiply and differentiate into different cells. The dentist can inject stem cells into the root of the tooth and stimulate them to grow into the desired dental tissues.
The injected stem cells need a place on which to anchor so that they can grow, and the scaffolds provide this support. The scaffold can also be a biodegradable material that deteriorates and gets absorbed by your body with time, from actual tissues of your body or it can be made from biologically inert materials that remain in the body permanently without causing any reaction.
The injected stem cells will not just start multiplying and differentiating into the desired tissues after injection; they have to be stimulated to do that. The growth factors provide the signals that stimulate the stem cells so that they can grow and differentiate as desired.
For more information, talk to a dentist at offices like Millennium Smiles.