Before too long, we may be able to purchase lozenge that will rebuild our tooth enamel and whiten our pearls.
Of course, this will only happen if this team of researchers from the University of Washington succeeds in their clinical trials and makes these lozenges commercially available.
Trial Starts on Enamel-Rebuilding Lozenge
The lozenge the scientists will now put on clinical trial contain a genetically-engineered peptide, as well as phosphorus and calcium ions or the building blocks of tooth enamel.
Peptide is derived from amelogenin or the key protein in tooth enamel formation, as well as in the formation of cementum or the surface of our tooth’s roots.
Every lozenge deposits micrometers of new enamel on the teeth through the peptide that’s designed to attach to the damaged enamel and fix it without negatively affecting the soft tissue in the mouth.
Interestingly, the new layer also integrates with the dentin which is the living tissue under our teeth’s surface.
And, the scientists believe that two of these lozenges per day can help rebuild the enamel whereas one per day will help keep a healthy layer.
This lozenge is expected to be safe for both adults and kids.
The Commercial Potential of Enamel-Rebuilding Lozenge
The team has been researching the potential commercial applications of these lozenges together with its corporate partners, explains the head of the team, Professor Mehmet Sarikaya.
The new enamel that the lozenge helps produce is whiter than the one provided by whitening strips or gels.
But, it also has another major benefit: the conventional whitening treatments use hydrogen peroxide only, a bleaching agent known to weaken the enamel if used for prolonged periods of time.
Considering the enamel is unable to regrow on its own, it can overexpose the dentin underneath and lead to hypersensitivity, cavities, and gum disease.
On the other hand, these lozenges help protect, strengthen, and rebuild the teeth, making their commercial potential big.
What Are the Objectives of the Clinical Trial?
According to Sarikaya, they have three major goals in the clinical trial.
First is to show efficacy, second is to document everything, and third is to benchmark or see how the whitening effect performs in comparison to current treatments available.
For now, the team has tested the lozenge on teeth extracted from humans, rats, and pigs as well on live rats.
The team hopes to develop these lozenges to be used in dental offices and each of their studies will take two weeks.
Whose Brainchild Is the Enamel-Rebuilding Lozenge?
The idea of this lozenge is the design of Deniz Yucesoy, a graduate student at the UW’s Genetically-Engineered Materials Science and Engineering Center.
They received a $100,000 Amazon Catalyst grant through CoMotion, the commercialization center of UW, as support for the project.
Other support came from Hanson Fong, a research scientist at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.