Use of prefabricated blood vessels may revolutionize root canals

June 12, 2017
Using a 3-D printing-inspired process, Bertassoni and team created artificial blood vessels in the lab. Seven days after injection into human premolars, vessels formed within the teeth. Credit: OHSU - Kristyna Wentz-Graff

While root canals are effective in saving a tooth that has become infected or decayed, this age-old procedure may cause teeth to become brittle and susceptible to fracture over time. Now researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, have developed a process by which they can engineer new blood vessels in teeth, creating better long-term outcomes for patients and clinicians.

Their findings will publish online in the journal Scientific Reports on June 12, 2017.

More than 15 million root canals are conducted annually in the United States. The current procedure involves removing infected dental tissues and replacing them with synthetic biomaterials covered by a protective crown.

"This process eliminates the tooth's blood and nerve supply, rendering it lifeless and void of any biological response or defense mechanism. Without this functionality, adult may be lost much sooner, which can result in much greater concerns, such as the need for dentures or dental implants," says principal investigator Luiz Bertassoni, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of restorative dentistry in the OHSU School of Dentistry, and assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine.

To address this issue, Bertassoni and colleagues used a 3D printing-inspired process—based on their previous work fabricating artificial capillaries—to create blood vessels in the lab. They placed a fiber mold made of sugar molecules across the root canal of extracted human teeth and injected a gel-like material, similar to proteins found in the body, filled with dental pulp cells. The researchers removed the fiber to make a long microchannel in the root canal and inserted endothelial cells isolated from the interior lining of vessels. After seven days, dentin-producing cells proliferated near the tooth walls and formed inside the tooth.

"This result proves that fabrication of artificial can be a highly effective strategy for fully regenerating the function of teeth," says Bertassoni, who also serves as an honorary lecturer in Bioengineering at University of Sydney-School of Dentistry. "We believe that this finding may change the way that treatments are done in the future."

Current root canal procedures remove and replace infected dental tissue with synthetic biomaterials, eliminating the tooth's blood and nerve supply. By utilizing pre-fabricated blood vessels, root canal patients and clinicians may experience better long-term outcomes. Credit: OHSU - Kristyna Wentz-Graff

Explore further: New stem cell delivery approach regenerates dental pulp-like tissue in a rodent model

Related Stories

New stem cell delivery approach regenerates dental pulp-like tissue in a rodent model

December 19, 2016
When a tooth is damaged, either by severe decay or trauma, the living tissues that comprise the sensitive inner dental pulp become exposed and vulnerable to harmful bacteria. Once infection takes hold, few treatment options—primarily ...

Nanodiamonds might prevent tooth loss after root canals

October 16, 2015
People undergoing root canals may have gained a powerful, if tiny, new ally. Researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry have found that using nanodiamonds to fortify a material used in the procedure could significantly ...

Root canal treatments overhauled through new device to detect untreated bacteria

March 8, 2017
A new method of detecting bacteria during root canal treatments could eradicate the need for follow up appointments and prevent treatments from failing, according to a study published today in the Journal of Dental Research. ...

Many Australians with missing teeth don't need dentures

December 1, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The latest research from the University of Adelaide challenges current thinking on whether many people with tooth loss really need dentures.

Recommended for you

Research shows aspirin could repair tooth decay

September 8, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay resulting in a reduction in the need for fillings. Currently about 7 million fillings are provided by the NHS ...

New dental imaging method uses squid ink to fish for gum disease

September 7, 2017
Squid ink might be a great ingredient to make black pasta, but it could also one day make getting checked for gum disease at the dentist less tedious and even painless. By combining squid ink with light and ultrasound, a ...

A new dental restoration composite proves more durable than the conventional material

August 21, 2017
Fewer trips to the dentist may be in your future, and you have mussels to thank.

Small molecule inhibitor prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model

August 10, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have created a small molecule that prevents or impedes tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of a key virulence enzyme in an oral bacterium, ...

Understanding genetic synergy in cleft palate

July 19, 2017
Like all of the individual elements of fetal development, palate growth is a marvel of nature. In part of this process, ledges of tissue on the sides of the face grow downwards on each side of the tongue, then upward, fusing ...

Use of prefabricated blood vessels may revolutionize root canals

June 12, 2017
While root canals are effective in saving a tooth that has become infected or decayed, this age-old procedure may cause teeth to become brittle and susceptible to fracture over time. Now researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.