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Bioteeth: the Possibility of Biological Tooth Replacement

January 31st, 2014

man woman happy smile

Scientists have recently created a method for replacing missing teeth through the use of bio-engineered material developed from a person’s own gum cells. Up until now, dentists have been using implant-based methods to accommodate tooth loss. However, with this new breakthrough in dental research, perhaps patients may be able to receive a biological tooth replacement down the road!

Professor Paul Sharpe, a specialist in craniofacial development and stem cell biology King’s College London, published his findings in the Journal of Dental Research and was excited to present studies showing promising results on creating of “bio-teeth,” which is the generation of immature teeth that are similar those found in embryo. Professor Sharpe believes that these can be transplanted into adults and eventually develop to become perfectly functioning teeth. The team’s research showed that these embryonic immature teeth can grow normally in the adult mouth and may potentially be used clinically.

So far, the researchers have been able to isolate epithelial cells derived adult human gum tissue taken from patients at the Dental Institute at King’s College London. They were grown in the lab and then combined with mice cells that were known to form teeth. Through transplanting, Professor Sharpe and his team were created hybrid human/mouse teeth that had formed dentine and enamel, along with viable roots. This research shows that these easily accessible epithelial cells may be a feasible source for creating the human bio-tooth. Professor Sharpe explains there is still some ways to go in the progress of creating bio-teeth. Still more research needs to be done in identifying adult sources of specific epithelial cells, which are cells that line the surfaces of structures throughout the body; these cells may be the key in forming bio-tooth. Currently, scientists have only been able to create viable teeth through the use of embryonic cells; it is important for more research to be done to look for ways to manipulate adult human cells to develop into tooth. With more effort dedicated to this field of research, researches may one day be able to make bio-teeth a reality in patients needing teeth replacement!

But for now, patients have the opportunity to receive implants, which have been a successful method in dentistry to replace teeth. Usually made from titanium, implants are placed within the bone; quite amazingly, the bone in the jaw accepts the new structure and the implant readily fuses with the bone. Dentists have been using this method for restoring a single tooth and even a group of teeth that could have gone missing due to significant tooth decay or fracture.

If you believe that you may be in need of dental implants, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

References:

Journal of Dental Research

WebMD

CEREC: restoration in one visit!

April 16th, 2013

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With CEREC treatment, patients only need to make one trip to the dentist with a procedure that can be carried out within the hour. There is no need for impressions, cementations, and even time spent waiting for the crown to come back from the lab. Because a short period of time is needed, patients only need to go through one round of Novocain. CEREC also takes faster photographic images of the tooth needing the procedure, this greatly reduces the patient’s time exposed to harmful x-rays.

While it has been the standard to implement porcelain fused to metal crowns for posterior restoration that requires full-coverage, these crowns require an extensive loss of tooth structure, is proven to be an allergen for some, and also lacks in aesthetics. CEREC provides patients with beautiful porcelain moldings that bear an identical shade to that of the patient’s tooth enamel. Once these crowns are in the mouth, they are barely distinguishable from the rest of the teeth, giving a picture perfect smile. On top of that, porcelain has been shown to be completely safe and healthy in patients, and is also known to be more durable and comfortable.

If you believe a CEREC crown procedure is right for you, Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions about tooth restorations. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

 

Sources:

CEREC Online

Feeling the burn

April 12th, 2013

The burning mouth syndrome (BMS) has been noted as a chronic and painful condition known by burning sensations in the tongue, lips, roof of the mouth, gums, insides of the cheeks, and also the back of the mouth or throat. While dentists are still puzzled by this condition, the burning mouth syndrome has shown to be seven times more frequent in women than in men. Studies have shown that, in general, those who have dealt with this syndrome are middle aged.

Symptoms that have been documented to be prominent for BMS includes a pain or burning sensation that starts out in the mornings, but progressively worsens throughout the day, eventually reaching its worst during the evenings. Some have reported to feel pain that continues to persist throughout the day and some even say that the pain comes in here and there.

Although the cause of BMS has not been fully uncovered, dentists have their hunches of what factors may be related to this burning sensation; here are just a few:

Nutritional deficiencies: individuals who lack proper amounts of iron, folate and vitamin B complex have be linked with the burning sensation in the mouth; to counter this effect, some dentists believe that supplementing with B vitamin’s and minerals such as zinc and iron my relieve some of the pain.

Dry mouth: those who experience dry mouth have also reported a burning sensation as well; to reduce dry mouth, it is recommended to continue to stay hydrated throughout the day to lessen the symptoms that comes with this condition.

Diabetes: diabetics are known to be more vulnerable when it comes to oral infections, which is a possible culprit to burning mouth sensations; diabetics should continue to be mindful of blood sugar levels as to prevent the start up of burning mouth and may potentially lessen the symptoms that are related to this condition.

Menopause: as stated earlier, dentists believe that women are more likely to suffer from BMS, and it’s been thought that menopause attributes to this reason. Hormonal changes are shown to trigger the burning sensation in middle-aged women; hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be effective in treating the burning sensation in certain patients.

While dentists continue to find appropriate methods to find a way to counter BMS, there are several tips that may relieve the burning sensation you may be experiencing:

  • Don’t use mouthwash that contains alcohol
  • Don’t use toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Keep away from alcoholic beverages
  • Keep away from beverages with high acidity (sodas, juices)
  • Continue to stay hydrated

If you believe that you are experiencing burning sensations in your mouth, it is important to visit your dentist to discuss the symptoms and possible reasons for why this condition started occurring. If you have more concerns about this issue, Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

 

References:

Your Dentistry Guide

National Institute of Health

 

Preventing Teeth Staining

April 4th, 2013

After appointments for tooth whitening and countless nights of whitening strips, you may still find yourself struggling with teeth staining. But what exactly causes the staining? Dentists explain that are certain foods and drinks that are prone to staining teeth.

To start off, foods and drinks with intense color tend to be big culprits of staining. The higher the pigmentation in color, the more likely it will cause a deeper stain. The color that is inherent in these foods comes from chromogens, which are highly colored molecules that have a strong affinity to dental enamel. This means that these molecules are more likely to stick and stay on your teeth. Acidic foods and drinks, even ones that may not be considered intensely colored, also lead to staining due to the erosion of dental enamel. These types of food tend to soften teeth, which makes it easier for chromogens to stick on. Another promoter of teeth includes tannins, which are food compounds that enhance chromogens’ ability to attach enamel.

Here are various foods and drinks that may leave you susceptible to teeth-staining:

Wine: red wine is considered an acidic beverage that holds both chromogens and tannins. Also, don’t be fooled! White wine, although almost colorless, also promotes staining. The New York University School of Dentistry presented studies that demonstrated that teeth exposed to tea were more likely to be more severely stained if they were previously exposed to white wine.

Tea: black tea is very saturated with stain-promoting tannins Dentists state that tea may leave teeth even more severely stained than coffee, which is chromogen-rich, but low in tannins. However, if you are a tea-lover and need your daily fix, some less teeth-staining alternatives include herbal, green and white teas.

Cola: it is obvious that this deep brown beverage (which is highly acidic and chromogen-rich) causes major teeth stain, but what you may not know is that the acidity of light-colored soft drinks also leads to a sufficient amount of teeth staining. Try your best to cut down on these carbonated drinks and reach for less acidic alternative.

Sports drinks: we know of the harmful effects of sports drinks on teeth enamel, and sure enough, the weakening of teeth enamel leads to more susceptibility to staining. Read more about these effects in our post Hold the Gatorade!

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Berries: although strawberries and blueberries are high in anti-oxidants and are known to be healthy food choices, they are highly pigmented in color and are very likely to stain teeth.

Sweets: after working through a lollipop, you may sometimes find yourself with a different colored tongue; this is a good indicator that hard candies, chewing gum, and popsicles can also lead to stains as well

Although there are many foods and beverages that can cause teeth staining, that doesn’t mean that cannot be eaten; just be sure to brush well! Dentists also suggest using straws to sip on beverages that are acidic and highly pigmented in nature. Swallowing stain-causing foods quickly also helps to protect your teeth. Swishing and rinsing after consuming and drinking can also lessen the acidity and remove the substances that cause teeth staining.

If you have any concerns, Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

 

References:

Webmd

The Huffington Post

 

Hold the Gatorade!

April 4th, 2013

The harmful effects of energy and sports drinks


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Many people give the excuse that they’d rather drink energy drinks and sports drinks because they believe that they are healthier than soda when it comes to oral health. However, this is quite far from the truth, explains researcher Poonam Jian, an associate professor and director of community dentistry at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. Jian’s study, which was published in General Dentistry, looked at 13 different sport drinks and nine energy drinks for acidity. 6 drinks were tested and their effects on tooth enamel were determined. Jain and his team had acquired enamel samples, which were immersed in the different drinks for 15 minutes, stimulating an individual drinking the energy or sports drink in real life. It was found that both sports drinks and energy drinks resulted in tooth damage, where there was significant enamel loss. The average enamel lost with sports drinks was about 1.5% and the average loss for energy drink was more than 3%.

Researchers have listed Gatorade Blue as the sports drinks with the highest acidity, next to Hydr8. Other energy drinks containing high acidity content include:

  • Red Bull Sugarfree
  • Monster Assault
  • 5-hour Energy
  • Von Dutch
  • Rockstar

Because of their sugary content, both teens and young adults alike tend to consider these drinks as their favorite go-to beverages. Up to half of U.S. teens and young adults indulge in energy drinks, and studies have shown that more than half have at least one sports drink a day. To counter this, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Richard Blumenthal have been trying to bring about change by urging top energy drink makers to stop marketing to children. Durbin and Blumenthal sent letters to the CEOs of Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar that highlighted examples of ways these companies have been reaching out to children, including sponsoring high school sporting events and Little League games. This is a great start in weaning teens and young adults off of these drinks, and perhaps a good step forward in bringing about awareness of the drinks’ harmful effects.

Although it will be a difficult task to convince these major energy and sports drinks companies to limit their advertisements, it is important to be aware these drinks’ consequences on oral health. Jian suggests although it is best to cut these drinks out completely, but he understands that it is difficult to give them up completely. He provides some tips to minimize the intake of these drinks. Jian explains that diluting the drinks and not brushing immediately after drinking them would help lower the amount of acid intake and prevent the spreading of acid in the mouth.

As you make another trip to the market to purchase more beverages, be mindful of the content of these drinks and think of the consequences they may have on your oral health! If you have any concerns, Drs. Ali & Ali and their team at Wellesley Dental Group will be very happy to answer your questions. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

 

References:

WebMD

Sun Times

Safety and Infection Control at the Dentist

April 3rd, 2013

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Recent news reports have come out regarding dental practice safety and infection control, notably, involving a Tulsa, Oklahoma practice. We want to take a moment and share what we do to ensure the safety of our patients. We take universal precautions in sterilization practices that are applied to everyone who comes through the doors of Wellesley Dental Group. Our top concern is in abiding by strict infection control guidelines for the health of our patients, team, and Drs.; “Do No Harm” is our mantra.

Every day, every hour, and every minute we adhere to a very strict regimen to disinfect and sterilize everything that comes into contact with our patients. We want to let you in on the behind-the-scenes processes that are as much a part of our routine as the teeth cleaning, crowns, and x-rays we do every day.

  • Hand washing
    • We wash our hands consistently, especially before and after interacting with any patients.
    • We follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standards.
  • Plastic barriers are placed on all surfaces that are potentially touched to prevent any cross contamination:
    • Before any patient enters, the operatory is cleaned with a medical grade disinfectant and all plastic barriers are changed. Disinfected surfaces include equipment and surfaces, such as x-ray units and countertops.
    • Masks and safety glasses are worn.
    • Gloves are worn at all times and are changed between every patient.
    • Sometimes numerous gloves are thrown out during particularly long procedures for a given patient. We go through boxes upon boxes of gloves every day.
    • All pillows, light handles, etc, are draped with protective covers.
  • All disposable instruments (needles, suction tips, etc) are disposed after one use. These instruments are disposed in puncture resistant biohazard containers.
  • Non-disposable instruments are sterilized in small, individual packages in our autoclave. The autoclaving process destroys all forms of microbial life.
    • Instruments (drills, filling and cleaning instruments, etc) are brought to the sterilization room
    • The instruments are scrubbed by hand and washed.
    • Steeped in a solution for 20 minutes as they undergo an ultrasonic bath
    • Dried and placed into special, small, individually wrapped packages
    • These packages are then autoclaved.
    • After the autoclaving, there is a color indicator on the package that changes, confirming that process was done correctly.

When it comes to knowing whether the autoclave works correctly every time, we don’t solely rely on the color indicator on the packages. Our autoclave is a brand-name, state of the art machine that blasts instruments with extreme heat and high, steam pressure in an airtight enclosure. Every week, to ensure it is working according to the manufacturer’s standards, we do a spore test.

  • We put a closed packet of spores into the autoclave
  • The packet undergoes the autoclaving process
  • The autoclaved packet is then sent to an independent lab for analysis.
  • To pass the test, all spores must be inactivated.

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We take the safety of our patients very seriously and will continue to follow the highest standards laid forth by the CDC, AGD, and OSHA. As members of the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry), we strive to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting our patients from the transmission of diseases. We think that AGD President Jeffrey M. Cole, DDS, MBA, FAGD sums up our beliefs very concisely:

“Because many dental procedures involve direct contact with blood and saliva, safety protocols are put in place to help stop the spread of disease. Heat sterilization of dental instruments helps prevent the spread of diseases like hepatitis and HIV. By following stringent best practices, AGD dentists maintain a commitment to patient health and safety. If your dentist is an AGD member, you can be confident that he or she strives to provide the best quality care to their patients by utilizing the most current safety protocols.”

Our patients can always expect the highest standards of quality and care. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch with us. Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group are infection control advocates; we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

 

Sources:

AGD:

OSHA

CDC

 

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