Gel Makes Teeth Regenerate? Substance Seen as Way to Fix Decay without Dentist's Drill

(CBS) What if your cavities could go away painlessly, with only the application of a gel. That's right - no drill, no needles.

That tantalizing possibility is now being explored by French scientists, according to the journal ACS Nano. They're testing a substance - applied to teeth in a gel or thin strip - that seems to repair tooth decay painlessly by causing cells inside teeth to regenerate.

Scientists got the idea to try out the substance - melanocyte-stimulating hormone, or MSH - on rodent teeth after  previous research showed that MSH encourages bone regeneration.

Bone and tooth have a similar makeup, reports Discovery Health.

This tooth-repairing gel will have to undergo many clinical trials before it's made available for use by dentists. 

And the gel isn't meant to prevent cavities - only to treat them. So we'll still have to brush and floss.

But when cavities do form, a trip to the dentist could become a whole lot less traumatic.