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Proposed capsule-based treatment could one day repair gums from periodontal damage


A research team from the University of Pittsburgh has developed a new treatment method that utilizes controlled-release tablets to target specific areas of the gum line affected by periodontal illnesses.

Speaking in late August before the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Steven Little, the principal scientist behind the initiative, discussed about the industry-wide impact the experimentation could yield.

“Our technology uses controlled-release capsules filled with a protein that would be injected in the pockets between the gums and the teeth,” he told the assembly. “That’s ground-zero for periodontal disease – ‘gum disease’ – the place where bacteria breed and inflammation occurs.”

Dr. Little went on to the describe the therapy process. First, the tablets are placed in strategic areas where they are needed most. The shell around them dissolves and a protein is released that acts as a marker and gathering-point for germ-fighting cells. Once there, they work to reduce the amount of bacteria located on the impacted gum line and ease the inflammatory side effects. With luck he said, the treatment “could create conditions favorable for gum tissue to regrow.”

A key element of Little’s experiment is the fact that it relies, in part, on maintaining a level of inflammation. Previous efforts by other research sought to block what are known as lymphocytes, but Little saw the benefit of more blood flow to infected areas.

“Inflammation is inherently a good thing, but too much of it is a bad thing,” he said. “That’s why we aim to restore the immune balance, or homeostasis.”

To learn more about periodontal treatment methods, contact your affordable dental care provider and ask about what you can do to keep your teeth looking strong.