Do you remember the advertisement, “You’ve come a long way baby?”  I’m Dr. Corbet Locke, a Waco Dentist, and I believe this phrase should be used when to describe dental procedures, technology, and products.  Gone are the days when dentists regularly pulled a tooth to correct a problem.

Scientists are now focusing on regenerating natural tissue.  Whether for stem cell or peptides, research is showing that bones and even teeth can be regenerated.  Does this mean that soon humans will become like lizards?  Instead of growing a new tail, we will grow new teeth?

According to a new study in the journal ACS Nano, a peptide known as MSH, melanocy-stimulating hormone has been discovered. This peptide encourages cells inside the teeth to regenerate in about a month. In the future, dentists will place a soft gel or a thin, flexible film next to a cavity.

“It’s not like toothpaste,” said Nadia Benkirane-Jessel, a scientist at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Mediccale (INSERM), a French biomedical and public health research institution. Toothpaste is used to prevent cavities. MSH is used to repair cavities after they develop.

MSH was originally used to encourage bone regeneration. Since teeth and bone are fairly similar, the French scientists applied the MSH to cavity-filled mice teeth. After approximately one month, the cavities were nonexistent.  These scientists caution that MSH treats cavities; it doesn’t prevent them. People still need to brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily to prevent cavities from forming.

Treating cavities without drilling does have its advantages. Deep cavities and extensive drilling may harm nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth, making it more brittle and likely to fracture.  MSH will only be useful in a relatively small number of cases.

As studies progress, patients will benefit from this regenerating peptide, and trips to the dentist will be more pleasant. Instead of traditional treatment for a cavity, your dentist will put a dab of gel or thin film against your infected tooth and after a month, the cavity will be gone.

ALSO, this treatment is not available now, so I continue to use minimally invasive, comfortable procedures, and lifelike durable materials.

As a dentist in Waco, I appreciate dental developments that can enhance comfort and quality care. If you have a cavity, call my Waco dental office at (254)776-4888 to schedule an appointment. I look forward to helping you enjoy healthy.