Tissue Regeneration Showing Promise as Alternative to Root Canal

2 min read

Dec. 5, 2023 -- Scientists are developing a new dental treatment – tissue regeneration -- that could replace the root canal, according to a statement from the ADA Forsyth Institute.

Forsyth researchers worked on a study that appeared in The Journal of Dental Research.

In reporting on the research, CBS News explains that dental pulp inside a tooth can become inflamed and infected from cavities or after an injury. A root canal typically treats the problem -- the pulp and nerve are removed, the root canal is cleaned, and then it’s filled and sealed with material.  

“The ideal therapeutic goal is dental pulp regeneration, which is not achievable with (root canal therapy),” the study says.

But root canals can be uncomfortable and lead to complications like infection or fracture.

The Forsyth researchers are studying the use of a molecule called Resolvin E1 that is produced by the body and has been shown to control excess inflammation, according to CBS.

It was able to regenerate the pulp and slow infection and inflammation. The treatment could be developed someday to treat other parts of the body, the researchers say.

“Because application of (Resolvin E1) to dental pulp promotes formation of the type of stem cells that can differentiate into dentin (tooth), bone, cartilage or fat, this technology has huge potential for the field of regenerative medicine beyond the tissues in the teeth,” said Thomas Van Dyke, DDS, of ADA Forsyth and a senior scientist leading the study. “It could be used to grow bones in other parts of the body, for instance.”