Study reveals potential target for drug development for better control of dental pain

May. 28, 2017

A recent study from UR Medicine’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR) is challenging a longstanding hydrodynamic theory that states environment stimulation triggers fluid movement in a tooth’s hard tissue, which then stimulates the tooth’s nerves in its root, causing pain.

Dr. LiuThis new study, says lead author Xiuxin Liu, DDS, PhD, assistant professor at EIOH, may help to better decipher the puzzle of how pain is transferred within the teeth and surrounding tissues, and could lead to potential targets for developing more effective drugs for tooth sensitivity and dental pain.

“Our work doesn’t overthrow the traditional hydrodynamic theory, but it shifts the paradigm to a more complex mechanical-biological mechanism,” explained Dr. Liu. “By dissecting the signal pathway at the cellular and molecular level, we learned in more detail about the pain transduction mechanism within the teeth.”

A similar study on the same topic was featured on the cover of the JDR September 2015 issue. Co-authors  of these studies and the Online First, published on February 16, 2017 in JDR, include Drs. Robert T Dirksen and Maiken Nedergaard from URMC and Drs. Yanfang Ren and Hans Malmstrom from EIOH.