Patients of Portland family and cosmetic dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak should know that gum disease can cause serious damage to their long-term oral health. When left untreated, gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, can quickly progress into periodontitis, the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.
When gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, the disease begin to eat away at healthy gum tissue and the underlying bone structure that holds your teeth into position. When the disease has done sufficient damage, your teeth become loose, unstable and could eventually fall out. Unfortunately, at this point very little can be done to repair the damaged bone structure, and patients must begin considering the use of partial dentures or a fixed bridge to restore functionality to their oral health.
However, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan offers renewed hope to patients suffering from bone loss due to gum disease. Researchers have potentially developed a polymer sphere capable of delivering specific RNA molecules to bone wounds that informs cells already at the site of the injury to repair the damage.
Enabling existing cells to repair wounds reduces the need to introduce foreign cells into the body – a very difficult thing to successfully do as the body readily rejects what it doesn’t immediately recognize. The new polymer sphere is designed to work in a time-released fashion, which will enable it to continue working on repairing the damaged bone structure for up to a month.
The results of this study were published in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers are hopeful that this new type of technology can help regrow bone in patients with conditions like oral implants, joint repair or oral surgery or tooth decay and gum disease. The new technology utilizes RNA, which researchers hope will pave the way for new breakthroughs using DNA and RNA therapy in the future.
In the past, it’s has been very difficult for researchers to successful enable RNA molecules to breakthrough cell membranes so they can perform their designed function. However, the new polymer created in this study allows RNA molecules easy access to cell membranes, increasing the overall effectiveness of the treatment.
Repairing bone structure is especially difficult in patients who suffer from healing problems, but researchers were able to heal bone wounds in osteoporotic mice. If researchers can reproduce these effects in humans, millions of patients worldwide who suffer from bone loss and associated problems may be able to regenerate what was previously lost.
The next step for researchers is now to try this new technology in larger animals before moving on to human test subjects. You can be sure your Portland family and cosmetic dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak will keep you informed on how this remarkable breakthrough continues to progress.