Scientists have recently engineered a biomaterial that can help preserve a patient’s tooth and keep it alive after a root canal procedure. Researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) created a video and shared their groundbreaking findings with their peers at the 256th National Meeting and Exposition in Boston. The national exposition was hosted by the American Chemical Society which organizes conferences each year to showcase the latest scientific discoveries from the top professionals in the industry from around the world.
The New Jersey Institute of Technology Study
Scientists have unearthed a peptide hydrogel that can help preserve a patient’s tooth after a root canal. It accomplishes this by stimulating the production of blood vessels inside the dental pulp so that it still has living tissue.
The innovative discovery was made by Dr. Vivek Kumar, a biomedical and chemical engineering professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He originally wanted to conduct the study because he was curious to see what would happen if a biomaterial was used instead during a root canal procedure instead of the usual gutta percha material.
Dr. Kumar gathered a team of researchers at the university to test this theory. After multiple failed attempts, they eventually engineered a stable biomaterial peptide hydrogel that could stimulate the growth of new blood vessels and create new dental pulp stem cells. Their peptide could also promote healthy tooth enamel by developing calcium phosphate crystals.
Dr. Kumar shared during the conference that he would like to eventually organize a clinical study to conduct further research on human patients. So far his team has tested the peptide hydrogel on dogs who underwent root canal treatment. He is also testing different peptide chemicals on animals to see if he can develop one with antimicrobial properties that would prevent an oral infection from forming inside the dental pulp. Dr. Kumar also filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to register their newly engineered peptide.
This innovative discovery could dramatically improve the root canal procedure by giving dentists the opportunity to save more of the patient’s dental pulp instead of removing it completely. Kumar’s innovative peptide hydrogel could also help patients regenerate new dental pulp and prevent other infections from developing inside the tooth.