Enamel, the exterior layer of teeth that gives us the strength to eat things tougher than mashed potatoes, doesn’t regenerate once lost. That’s why you shouldn’t be using your teeth as scissors or pliars. But researchers at the Queen Mary University of London have now developed a way to make materials that share many remarkable characteristics of natural enamel, hopefully soon giving dentists a way to treat enamel loss and providing a tool to address related conditions.
“This is exciting because the simplicity and versatility of the mineralisation platform opens up opportunities to treat and regenerate dental tissues,” said Dr Sherif Elsharkawy, a dentist and scientists on the latest stud, said in a statement. “For example, we could develop acid resistant bandages that can infiltrate, mineralise, and shield exposed dentinal tubules of human teeth for the treatment of dentin hypersensitivity.”
The researchers were able to use proteins to manipulate mineralisation so that the precisely wanted material is produced and precisely at different scales. This is important because enamel has a hierarchical structure that changes as one looks at it from various distances.
Open access study in Nature Communications: Protein disorder–order interplay to guide the growth of hierarchical mineralized structures…