Scientists reported development of a peptide hydrogel designed to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and dental pulp within a tooth after the procedure
After root canal procedure, dental pulp is replaced with rubber rods, which inactivates the tooth leading to risk of infection. New procedure offers method to keep such teeth alive and strong. The researchers are presenting their results at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Led by Drs. Vivek Kumar and Peter Nguyen, a team from the New Jersey Institute of Technology started with an existing peptide hydrogel that had previously been shown to stimulate angiogenesis when injected under the skin of mice and rats. The solution starts out as a liquid, but self-assembles into a gel once injected.
Furthermore, they added a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor, which stimulates dentinogenesis. Cells not only proliferated and deposited calcium phosphate crystals – which make up tooth enamel – when the mixture was introduced to culture dental pulp stem cells. Although this first version of the peptide hydrogel degraded after being injected under rats’ skin, a much more stable version has since been created.
Furthermore, team plans to add an antibacterial agent to the gel to make root canals much less of an ordeal – only relatively small amounts of the hydrogel would need to be injected into a patient’s tooth, killing the infection and allowing most of the existing pulp to remain intact. The scientists are experimenting with injecting it into the teeth of dogs that have received root canals, which if successful will be followed by human trials.