Prefabricated Blood Vessels May Improve Root Canal Therapy
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have developed a process that produces blood vessels in teeth. The finding holds promise for improving long-term outcomes in root canal therapy because the artificial blood vessels can help regenerate the tooth’s function, according to a paper published in Scientific Reports.
The study, “A Novel Strategy to Engineer Pre-Vascularized Full-Length Dental Pulp-Like Tissue Constructs,” addressed the challenges associated with root canal procedures, in which the tooth’s blood and nerve supplies are cut off, negating its ability to mount a biological response or defense mechanism. Eventually, this can cause the tooth to become weak and vulnerable to fractures.
Using a process inspired by three-dimensional printing, a team led by Luiz Bertassoni, DDS, PhD, placed a fiber mold constructed of sugar molecules across the root canal of an extracted human tooth and injected a gel-like material filled with dental pulp cells. Researchers removed the fiber to make a microchannel in the root canal and inserted endothelial cells isolated from the interior lining of blood vessels. Dentin-producing cells proliferated near the tooth walls and artificial blood vessels formed inside the tooth after 7 days. “This result proves that fabrication of artificial blood vessels can be a highly effective strategy for fully regenerating the function of teeth,” Bertassoni asserts. “We believe this finding may change the way root canal procedures are done in the future.”