By: Bella Rudoy
ADA Forsyth scientists are hard at work testing new technology to treat endodontic (soft tissue) tissues. Resolvins, specifically Resolvin E1, have been found to demonstrate regenerative properties when applied to dental pulp. The source of this discovery is found in the study “RvE1 Promotes Axin2+Cell Regeneration and Reduces Bacterial Invasion” in the Journal of Dental Research. Resolvins are a type of specialized proresolving mediators, which are molecules naturally found in the body and effective in controlling excess inflammation associated with disease.
This new revolutionary research could change dental work for the better. As Dr. Thomas Van Dyke, Vice President at the Center for clinical and Translational Research at ADA Forynsth puts it, “Root canal therapy is effective but it does have some problems since you are removing significant portions of dentin, and the tooth dried out leading to a greater risk of fracture down the road.” With root canals comes fear, discomfort, and also long- term risks to a patient’s teeth. The goal of this new research is to find a way to regenerate the pulp rather than fill the root canal with material that could fracture the tooth.
Root canals are necessary due to the inflammation of the tissue caused by cavities or cracking, resulting in an infection that can quickly kill the pulp (most inner layer of your teeth) and cause further issues. When RvE1 was tested on different levels of damaged pulp and infections, the findings were as follows. Firstly, RvE1 was seen to be very effective at promoting pulp regeneration when using living pulp. Scientists also found that placing this RvE1 on exposed and severely infected pulp did not facilitate any regeneration but rather slowed down the infection rate and treated the inflammation. The discovery is revolutionary as it was able to prevent periapical lesions (abscesses) that tend to occur with infection.
As Dr. Van Dyke points out, not only is the use of RvE1 revolutionary in dental work, but it is also a huge step towards more advancements in regenerative medicine as the application of this molecule promotes stem cells that can differentiate into dentin/tooth, bone, cartilage or fat, etc. With further research, what seems to be a mere solution to a painful dentist visit could mean more significant things for regenerative medicine today.