Experts are predicting that root canal procedures will go by the wayside in the not-too-distant future.

Scientists from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute sure hope so. Using the patient’s own stem cells, they’re developing a new dental treatment instead of a root canal that could someday help heal a damaged tooth.

Although the treatment is still primitive and not yet tested on humans, the scientists involved have already claim awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry for their idea: regenerative dental fillings.

When oral trauma or dental pulp disease and injury happen, a root canal is typically performed to remove the infected tissues, explained Dr. Adam Celiz, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham.

Current methods and dental materials used on fillings are toxic to cells. The new approach harnesses stem cells which the body produces instead.

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