Researchers from Harvard University say they have discovered a way to grow teeth using lasers. In a new study published in the Journal of Science Transitional Medicine, a team of researchers detail how they used focused laser light therapy on rats to stimulate the growth of lost dentin. Lead researcher Praveen Arany, of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, says that laser light therapy has been used for some time, stimulating hair growth and wound healing and making it a very popular clinical device. He and his researchers looked at wound healing and how lasers were able to stimulate the healing. They were able to outline the mechanisms involved in the process and applied that to teeth.
Using rodent teeth, which are smaller than human teeth, they created a clean surgical defect in the teeth to occupy most of the surface area of the crown. In the human context, the defect would be smaller and for larger defects, multiple treatments would be needed to cover that area.
Currently, the work published uses a single treatment for 5 minutes with an infrared laser and the stimulation of the dentin was observed for about 8 weeks in mice and 12 weeks in rats. Given the small teeth of both rats and mice, a single treatment was enough but in the human scenario, it will probably be different because of the larger teeth, Arany says.