Media New Atlas reported that we are seeing more and more “chip organ” devices in which small pieces of living biological tissue are used to replicate the function of actual organs. Now, scientists have created the first ever “chip tooth” that mimics a tooth decay.
In most cases, the “chip organ” device combines tissue samples from a given organ, which are placed in a small transparent slide. The microfluidic channels of the slide are then used to transfer various chemicals (such as drugs or toxins) through the sample. Depending on how the tissue reacts, the researchers were able to infer the possible effects of the entire organ.
The “chip teeth” were developed by oregon health and science university and use a similar working principle. It contains a small piece of tooth essential material taken from the molar teeth, sandwiched between transparent rubber sheets. The channels etched on these slides allow the inintroduced fluid to flow through the tooth essence. This replicates the way hollows in the teeth allow bacteria to enter the inside of the teeth.
Using a microscope, scientists can then study the response of samples. The technology could eventually be used to develop tooth decay filling or tooth decay prevention solutions, as well as to optimize treatments for individuals – although the latter has to be sacrificed.
Lead scientist Associate Professor Luiz E. Bertassoni said: “From now on, dentists can pull a tooth from a patient, load it into the device, observe how dental fillers interact with the teeth, and select the material that best fits the particular patient.” This opens a new window into the complexity of dental care, which could dramatically change the way we treat it. “
The paper on the study was published this week in the journal Lab on a Chip.