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The SealBio technique invented by a team of doctors at AIIMS in the Capital has been found to cure and regenerate an infected root canal through stem cell activation

Reported advances in the field of regenerative medicine, hinging on the use of stem cells, evoke both scepticism and hope. Claims of miracle cures by unmonitored clinics for afflictions ranging from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, cancers, heart diseases, spinal injuries, paralysis to general symptoms of ageing have proved counter-productive. For, without certified clinical trials, such claims fall flat.

As a premier research and teaching centre, which also provides specialised medical care, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the Capital is cautious about testimonies. These require clearance after rigorous verification.

The institute has promoted research in the application of stem cells to treat diverse maladies. A breakthrough dental regeneration technique has been developed by the Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Centre for Dental Education and Research. A team, headed by Prof. Naseem Shah, centre chief and department head, has pioneered the SealBio technique for infected root canal cure and regeneration, where necrosis has set in. It is unique to AIIMS.

Natural healing

The method hinges on the premise that human intervention should facilitate natural healing by activating the body’s own regenerative power. In this case, it is achieved by the simple expedient of activating stem cells in a decaying tooth’s root canal, after it is rigorously cleaned and disinfected. The root canal is then restored to health by the gradual build up of tissue by stem cells over a period, extending from a few weeks to some months. This does away with the century-old convention of filling up the root canal, after it is cleaned up, with gutta percha, a rubber derivative.

No need for implant

Since the AIIMS method induces tissue build up, chance of saving the infected tooth is greater, precluding the need for an implant or other artificial object in the mouth. A research paper, titled ‘SealBio: A novel, non-obturation endodontic treatment based on concept of regeneration’, authored by Dr. Naseem Shah and Dr. Ajay Logani, and published in Journal of Conservative Dentistry, dated October-December 2012, details the procedure. It cites 18 case studies, of patients ranging from 15-76 years, with severely infected teeth. Activating stem cells involves ‘over-instrumentation into the periapical region’ with a very fine surgical needle so as to induce bleeding. Subsequently, the cavity in the crown is restored, and a thorough follow up of cases is done over the following months. Healing of lesions, as their size decreases, and increase in bone and cementum density is documented via X-rays. All cases showed excellent healing.

This excerpt demystifies the method so that even a lay person can understand it: “Apical cleaning, apical foramen widening and over instrumentation into periapical region were done to induce bleeding near apical foramen. It is hypothesised that the clot formed provides a scaffold into which locally residing stem cells can get seeded and the cascade of healing process can initiate.”

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