Staff: Walmsley, Scheven, Shelton, Cooper
Ultrasound has various medical applications . Our research group is exploring the use of ultrasound as a non-invasive physical therapy for dental tissue healing and repair. The tooth is a hard mineralised structure with a living soft pulpal tissue core capable to respond to outside stimuli including physical forces. We study how ultrasound penetrates and travels in dental tissues and how it affects the reparative activities of the living cells within the core of the teeth. Our research has demonstrated that ultrasound in the low frequency range, generally used in dentistry for dental scaling, is able to stimulate both odontoblasts and dental pulp cells which are involved in dentine formation and repair.
The research represents a true multidisciplinary collaboration involving experts from physics, engineering, biology, biomaterials and dentistry. Mathematical simulation models are being developed to analyse low frequency & low intensity ultrasound transmission within dental tissues which will be compared with ultrasound-induced bio-effects in different experimental tooth models. Our studies also investigate whether ultrasound is able to activate and stimulate stem cells to support healing of dental and bone tissues.
The outcome of our studies is to exploit the development of a new ultrasound and non-invasive therapeutic devices that can be used in the clinic for dental, periodontal, bone and craniofacial repair, thereby promoting oral health and ultimately human health.