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Regenerating Teeth

Researchers use lasers to repair teeth

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, May 29, 2014, 2:17 PM - Researchers at Harvard are developing a method of low-level laser therapy that can help teeth repair and even regrow -- and so far, lab tests have been promising.

The team pointed their specialized laser at the damaged tooth of a rat and found the dentin -- the material at the core of the tooth -- grew back more than it would have without medical intervention.

The new dentin was produced when exposure to the laser set off a chain reaction that spurred the stem cells into action, and the team says it has tracked the chain of events all the way back, allowing them to fine tune the laser's efficiency.

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"It would be a substantial advance in the field if we can regenerate teeth rather than replace them," said David Mooney, the study's lead author in a statement, adding that the "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."

Researchers hope to begin human trials shortly and are working with officials to establish safety regulations.

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