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Tooth regrowth articles in the media

Here is more info related to the scientific research on tooth regrowth:

Susan Ruttan, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2006

EDMONTON – Long used as a test for pregnant women, ultrasound may soon have a new role — growing teeth.

A team of University of Alberta researchers is seeking a U.S. patent on a tiny device that will sit inside the mouth and beam ultrasound waves at teeth.

The device won’t help Ryan Smyth, the Edmonton Oiler who lost three teeth in the hockey playoffs, but it may prevent tooth damage that can occur from wearing braces.

And it may do much more than that. The research team envisages bandages embedded with tiny ultrasound machines that may some day be wrapped around broken legs to help the bone heal more quickly.

The idea originated with Dr. Tarek El-Bialy, an Egyptian-born orthodontist who joined the university’s faculty of dentistry a year ago.

El-Bialy has shown in earlier research that ultrasound waves, the high frequency sound waves normally used for diagnostic imaging, help bones heal and tooth material grow.

“I was using ultrasound to stimulate bone formation after lower-jaw lengthening in rabbits,” El-Bialy said in an interview Tuesday.

To his surprise, not only did he help heal the rabbits’ jaws after the surgery, but their teeth started to grow as well.

He later did a human study to see if ultrasound could prevent damage to the roots of teeth when people wear braces. Braces force the teeth to move, and that can cause root damage.

That study, published in 2004, showed that a tooth getting a daily shot of ultrasound was protected from damage, and in fact had more dental tissue than before.

“The problem was that the ultrasound device we were using was very big, and the patient had to hold it in his mouth for 20 minutes every day,” El-Bialy said.

When he moved to the U of A, he joined forces with two members of the engineering faculty, Jie Chen and Ying Tsui, to design an ultrasound machine small enough to sit inside a person’s mouth. Chen is an expert in small-circuit devices, Tsui in ultrasound. They think it will take a year to create a workable ultrasound device less than a centimetre long, small enough to attach to braces or to a plastic temporary crown and powered by a tiny battery.

Tsui said once the device — which has been named LIPUS, for low-intensity pulsed ultrasound — is created, it can be used for a variety of purposes. One idea is to make bandages embedded with tiny ultrasound devices, for healing broken bones.

Ultrasound has also been shown to stimulate the growth of stem cells, the cells that create all other cells, he said. An ultrasound device could be made for triggering stem cell reproduction.

El-Bialy also has work to do. So far, he has been able to stimulate growth of the inner part of teeth, but not the enamel. That’s why he can’t regrow Ryan Smyth’s teeth.

He’s starting new research to try to use ultrasound to repair cracked or broken teeth.

The researchers estimate their LIPUS device will be ready for public use within two years. // © The Edmonton Journal 2006


For practical information on regrowing your teeth, please visit the page How to regrow or repair bad teeth naturally.


Ultrasound may help regrow teeth

Hockey players, rejoice! A team of University of Alberta researchers has created technology to regrow teeth–the first time scientists have been able to reform human dental tissue.Using low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), Dr. Tarak El-Bialy from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Dr. Jie Chen and Dr. Ying Tsui from the Faculty of Engineering have created a miniaturized system-on-a-chip that offers a non-invasive and novel way to stimulate jaw growth and dental tissue healing.”It’s very exciting because we have shown the results and actually have something you can touch and feel that will impact the health of people in Canada and throughout the world,” said Chen, who works out of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the National Institute for Nanotechnology.The wireless design of the ultrasound transducer means the miniscule device will be able to fit comfortably inside a patient’s mouth while packed in biocompatible materials. The unit will be easily mounted on an orthodontic or “braces” bracket or even a plastic removable crown.

The team also designed an energy sensor that will ensure the LIPUS power is reaching the target area of the teeth roots within the bone. TEC Edmonton, the U of A’s exclusive tech transfer service provider, filed the first patent recently in the U.S. Currently, the research team is finishing the system-on-a-chip and hopes to complete the miniaturized device by next year.”If the root is broken, it can now be fixed,” said El-Bialy. “And because we can regrow the teeth root, a patient could have his own tooth rather than foreign objects in his mouth.”The device is aimed at those experiencing dental root resorption, a common effect of mechanical or chemical injury to dental tissue caused by diseases and endocrine disturbances. Mechanical injury from wearing orthodontic braces causes progressive root resorption, limiting the duration that braces can be worn. This new device will work to counteract the destructive resorptive process while allowing for the continued wearing of corrective braces.

With approximately five million people in North America presently wearing orthodontic braces, the market size for the device would be 1.4 million users.In a true tale of interdisciplinary work, El-Bialy met Chen at the U of A’s new staff orientation. After hearing about Chen’s expertise in nanoscale circuit design and nano-biotechnology, El-Bialy explained his own research and asked if Chen might be able to help produce a tiny ultrasound device to fit in a patient’s mouth. The two collaborated and eventually along with Tsui received a grant from NSERC’s “Idea to Innovation,” program to expand on their prototype.

Dr. El-Bialy first discovered new dental tissue was being formed after using ultrasound on rabbits. In one study, published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, El Bialy used ultrasound on one rabbit incisor and left the other incisor alone. After seeing the surprising positive results, he moved onto humans and found similar results. He has also shown that LIPUS can improve jaw growth in cases with hemifacial microsomia, a congenital syndrome where one side of the child’s jaw or face is underdeveloped compared to the other, normal, side. These patients usually undergo many surgeries to improve their facial appearance. This work on human patients was presented at the World Federation of Orthodontics in Paris, September 2005.

“After proving it worked, we looked at creating a smaller ultrasound carrier where we can take the patient out as a variable,” said El-Bialy. “Before this, a patient has to hold the ultrasound for 20 minutes a day for a year and that is a lot to ask.”

The researchers are currently working on turning their prototype into a market-ready model and expect the device to be ready for the public within next two years.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Tarek El-Bialy, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Alberta, 780-492-2751

Dr. Jie Chen, Faculty of Engineering
University of Alberta, 780-492-9820

Dr. Ying Tsui, Faculty of Engineering
University of Alberta 780-492-3192

Phoebe Dey, Public Affairs
University of Alberta, 780-492-0437


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