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Selection of an appropriate laser wavelength for launching surface acoustic waves on tooth enamel

02/09/2016  |  Tags: dental laser tips, dental laser,
 BY MEGHAN ROSEN  To rebuild teeth, just add laser light.  Zaps from a low-power laser boosted  tooth growth in rodents, researchers  report in the May 28 Science Trans  lational Medicine. The beams of light  set off a molecular chain reaction that  ended with the regeneration of dentin,  the tough inner material of teeth.  The findings may change the way den  tists think about treating patients, says  stem cell researcher Peter Murray of  Nova Southeastern University in Fort  Lauderdale, Fla.  Dentists can use lasers as high-tech  scalpels to carve out damaged tissue,  slice away overgrown gums or burn off  tumors. But scientists have had hints  that turning down a laser's power could  actually get cells growing.  Light from a low-power laser can spark  new growth of heart, skin and nerve  tissue, and researchers have speculated  that the regeneration involves stem cells,  says study coauthor David Mooney, a  bioengineer at Harvard University. "But  certainly people did not understand how  it worked," he says. "We wanted to put all  the pieces of the puzzle together."  Mooney and colleagues drilled holes  into two molars each in seven rats—down  past the enamel and through the tough  dentin — to expose the spongy, sensitive  pulp at each tooth's core. The team hit the  pulp of one tooth in each rat with a five  minute blast from a handheld near-infra  red laser and left the other tooth alone.  After filling both drilled teeth and  waiting 12 weeks, the team saw knobs of  dentin growing in and around the pulps  of both teeth. dental laser manufacturer About 20 percent more  dentin grew in the laser-treated tooth  than in the untreated one.  "It's not re-forming the tooth per  fectly," Mooney says. But teeth could  benefit from having extra dentin. Dam  age to dentin by cavity-causing bacteria  can leave the pulp vulnerable to micro  A brief blast of laser light might spur mouse  dental cells, shown here in false color growing  in a 3-D scaffold, to make dentin, the tough  stuff inside teeth.  bial attack, which can kill the tooth.  The laser treatment may work by  activating stem cells. In lab tests, dental  stem cells from human teeth and dental  cells from mice showed signs of turn  ing into dentin-making cells when hit  with low-power laser light. Chemicals  in the cells absorb the light's energy and  morph into reactive molecules that rev  up a growth factor protein. The protein  spurs dental stem cells into action, which  appear to turn into dentin-forming cells,  Mooney says
 BY  LAURA SANDERS  Mice with less pain live longer. When the  animals lack a certain pain-sensing pro  tein, their life span increases by an aver  age of 10 to 15 percent, scientists report  in the May 22 Cell.  With age, many people suffer more  frequent bouts of pain, says study coau  thor Andrew Dillin of the University of  California, Berkeley. He and his team  wondered about pain's connection to  getting older. "We simply just asked, is  pain actually driving the aging process or  is it part of the process, just going along  for the ride?" Dillin says.  The team studied mice genetically  engineered to lack the protein Trpvl, a  molecule important for sensing pain.  Perched on the outsides of nerve cells,  Trpvl senses scalding heat and spicy  chili peppers, among other things. It  also helps maintain body temperature  and influences insulin-producing cells.  Mice lacking Trpvl appeared normal,  except that males fought one another  viciously. But the team uncovered a big  difference in metabolic health. Mice  without Trpvl processed sugar more  effectively than mice with Trpvl. This  benefit remained even as the animals  aged. Old mice lacking Trpvl also had  more insulin-producing cells, which  help metabolize sugar, in their pancreas  than older mice with Trpvl.  This link between pain sensation,  metabolism and life span is exciting  because the same connection may occur  in other animals, says molecular physi  ologist Rochelle Buffenstein of the Uni  versity of Texas Health Science Center at  San Antonio. Evidence from studies on a  small subterranean rodent supports the  link between pain sensing and life span.  Buffenstein and others have found that  the naked mole-rat, which lives to the  unusually old age of 30 years, lacks a  typical pain response.  Favorable metabolic changes that  come with a reduced-pain existence  might drive life span extension. Male  mice that lack Trpvl lived about 10.6 per  cent longer than males with the protein,  from an average of 937 to 1,036 days. In  females, the average increase was about  15.6 percent, from 828 to 957 days.  It's unclear whether metabolic effects  alone alter life span or if the experience  of pain, and the stress and anxiety that  come with it, also contribute.  "All we know is that when we reduce  pain," Dillin says, "we increase metabolic  health.