A focus of the research of Charles Sfeir, DDS, PhD, is on tissue engineering of hard tissues such as bones, teeth, and periodontal tissues. Through the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine he and his team use odontoblast cells that are responsible for tooth formation to form tooth structures. Using the same technologies of resorbable polymers, they are in the process of studying tooth structure formation. Dr. Sfeir has authored many publications for his efforts in understanding the role of post-translational modifications of bone/dentin extracellular matrix proteins, mineralized tissue differentiation, and cell surface interactions at the molecular level.
Relative to the field of dental research, scientists at Florida-based USBiomaterials are exploring products that restore tissue structure and function. One of their products, NovaMin, builds a calcium shell to protect tooth nerves from potentially painful hot and cold liquids. NovaMin repairs the tiny holes in teeth that allow the pain to happen, instead of just covering the sensation of pain. NovaMin is made from the same bioactive material used in the most advanced bone regeneration material. NovaMin isn't a product that consumers can buy—but it will soon be in some UK products once Periproducts launches its new toothpaste in October at the British Dental Trade Association exhibition at NEC Birmingham.
The genesis of NovaMin’s technology goes back to the Vietnam War era. US scientists developed a material that helped in bone regeneration for combat-wounded troops. Later, two dental scientists at the University of Maryland took that bioactive compound and found a way to adapt the same technology for renewing teeth. That bioactive glass was eventually licensed by USBiomaterials.
Illustration: MicroSoft clipart.
The Center for Craniofacial Regeneration
Taipei Times (07/01/07)
Guardian Unlimited (06/28/07)