Jie CHEN, et al.
Pulsed Ultrasound Tooth Regeneration
28 June 2006
Smile! A New Canadian Tool Can Regrow
Teeth Say Inventors
Snaggle-toothed hockey players and sugar lovers may soon
rejoice as Canadian scientists said they have created the first
device able to re-grow teeth and bones.
The researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton filed
patents earlier this month in the United States for the tool
based on low-intensity pulsed ultrasound technology after
testing it on a dozen dental patients in Canada.
"Right now, we plan to use it to fix fractured or diseased
teeth, as well as asymmetric jawbones, but it may also help
hockey players or children who had their tooth knocked out," Jie
Chen, an engineering professor and nano-circuit design expert,
Chen helped create the tiny ultrasound machine that gently
massages gums and stimulates tooth growth from the root once
inserted into a person's mouth, mounted on braces or a removable
The wireless device, smaller than a pea, must be activated for
20 minutes each day for four months to stimulate growth, he
It can also stimulate jawbone growth to fix a person's crooked
smile and may eventually allow people to grow taller by
stimulating bone growth, Chen said.
Tarek El-Bialy, a new member of the university's dentistry
faculty, first tested the low-intensity pulsed ultrasound
treatment to repair dental tissue in rabbits in the late 1990s.
His research was published in the American Journal of
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics and later
presented at the World Federation of Orthodontics in Paris in
With the help of Chen and Ying Tsui, another engineering
professor, the initial massive handheld device was shrunk to fit
inside a person's mouth.
It is still at the prototype stage, but the trio expects to
commercialize it within two years, Chen said.
The bigger version has already received approvals from American
and Canadian regulatory bodies, he noted.
University of Alberta
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Associate Professor Appointed: 2005
University of Alberta, Graduate Orthodontic Program
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
4051 Dent/Pharm Bldg.
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2N8
Phone: (780) 492-2751
Fax: (780) 492-1624
Profile Details: Last Updated: 6/20/2006 -- COS Expertise ID
#896844 -- Reference this profile directly:
Dr. Tarek El-Bialy, Dr. Jie Chen & Dr.
Ying Tsui Awarded Grant
Congratulations to Dr. Tarek El-Bialy and his team Dr. Jie Chen
and Dr. Ying Tsui (from the Electrical Engineering department)
who has recently been awarded with the NSERC (121) [Idea to
Innovation] grant for "Intraoral Wireless Device for Dental
Tissue Formation and Tooth-Root Healing".
Moreover, Dr. Tarek El-Bialy has discovered that this
ultrasound can stimulate lower jaw growth especially in patients
with craniofacial problems like Hemifacial Microsomia. Usually
these patients have to undergo many surgeries during their
lives. This new device will be expected to improve many unsolved
problems in Dentistry and Craniofacial areas. A provisional
patent has been filed based on this research as well as the
awarded grant. More details about this research can be
found at the following website http://myprofile.cos.com/telbialy
For the second time in UA history, our research team has
awarded an NSERC (I2I)[Idea to Innovation] grant to miniaturize
a small ultrasound device for stimulating teeth healing and
dental tissue formation. This team includes in addition to Dr.
Tarek El-Bialy (in the Orthodontic Graduate program and
Biomedical Engineering), Drs. Jie Chen and Ying Tsui from the
Electrical Engineering department. When it was published by Dr.
Tarek El-Bialy at the American Journal of Orthodontics for the
first time in History that new dental tissue can be reformed
after the teeth are grown, this research team and patent was
Contact: Phoebe Dey
University of Alberta
Ultrasound may help regrow teeth
Hockey players, rejoice! A team of University of Alberta
researchers has created technology to regrow teeth--the first
time scientists have been able to reform human dental tissue.
Using low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), Dr. Tarak
El-Bialy from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Dr. Jie
Chen and Dr. Ying Tsui from the Faculty of Engineering have
created a miniaturized system-on-a-chip that offers a
non-invasive and novel way to stimulate jaw growth and dental
"It's very exciting because we have shown the results and
actually have something you can touch and feel that will impact
the health of people in Canada and throughout the world," said
Chen, who works out of the Department of Electrical and Computer
Engineering and the National Institute for Nanotechnology.
The wireless design of the ultrasound transducer means the
miniscule device will be able to fit comfortably inside a
patient's mouth while packed in biocompatible materials. The
unit will be easily mounted on an orthodontic or "braces"
bracket or even a plastic removable crown. The team also
designed an energy sensor that will ensure the LIPUS power is
reaching the target area of the teeth roots within the bone. TEC
Edmonton, the U of A's exclusive tech transfer service provider,
filed the first patent recently in the U.S. Currently, the
research team is finishing the system-on-a-chip and hopes to
complete the miniaturized device by next year.
"If the root is broken, it can now be fixed," said El-Bialy.
"And because we can regrow the teeth root, a patient could have
his own tooth rather than foreign objects in his mouth."
The device is aimed at those experiencing dental root
resorption, a common effect of mechanical or chemical injury to
dental tissue caused by diseases and endocrine disturbances.
Mechanical injury from wearing orthodontic braces causes
progressive root resorption, limiting the duration that braces
can be worn. This new device will work to counteract the
destructive resorptive process while allowing for the continued
wearing of corrective braces. With approximately five million
people in North America presently wearing orthodontic braces,
the market size for the device would be 1.4 million users.
In a true tale of interdisciplinary work, El-Bialy met Chen at
the U of A's new staff orientation. After hearing about Chen's
expertise in nanoscale circuit design and nano-biotechnology,
El-Bialy explained his own research and asked if Chen might be
able to help produce a tiny ultrasound device to fit in a
patient's mouth. The two collaborated and eventually along with
Tsui received a grant from NSERC's "Idea to Innovation," program
to expand on their prototype.
Dr. El-Bialy first discovered new dental tissue was being
formed after using ultrasound on rabbits. In one study,
published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and
Dentofacial Orthopedics, El Bialy used ultrasound on one
rabbit incisor and left the other incisor alone. After seeing
the surprising positive results, he moved onto humans and found
similar results. He has also shown that LIPUS can improve jaw
growth in cases with hemifacial microsomia, a congenital
syndrome where one side of the child's jaw or face is
underdeveloped compared to the other, normal, side. These
patients usually undergo many surgeries to improve their facial
appearance. This work on human patients was presented at the
World Federation of Orthodontics in Paris, September 2005.
"After proving it worked, we looked at creating a smaller
ultrasound carrier where we can take the patient out as a
variable," said El-Bialy. "Before this, a patient has to hold
the ultrasound for 20 minutes a day for a year and that is a lot
The researchers are currently working on turning their
prototype into a market-ready model and expect the device to be
ready for the public within next two years.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Tarek El-Bialy, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Alberta, 780-492-2751
Dr. Jie Chen, Faculty of Engineering
University of Alberta, 780-492-9820
Dr. Ying Tsui, Faculty of Engineering
University of Alberta 780-492-3192
Phoebe Dey, Public Affairs
University of Alberta, 780-492-0437
Dentist, Engineer Team up to Regrow Teeth
A tiny ultrasound device could help people regrow teeth,
researchers at the University of Alberta say.
The prototype device offers a way to reform human dental tissue
for the first time, the team said Wednesday.
Everyone from hockey players to children who knock out a tooth
The treatment, called low-intensity pulsed ultrasound, massages
the gums to stimulate jaws, encourage growth in the roots of
teeth and aid healing in dental tissue.
"If the root is broken, it can now be fixed," said Dr. Tarak
El-Bialy of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. "And because
we can regrow the teeth root, a patient could have his own tooth
rather than foreign objects in his mouth."
El-Bialy discovered ultrasound could be used to form new dental
tissue from his research on rabbit incisors, which was published
in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial
He then tested the technique on people who needed to get their
Participants held the bulky ultrasound device for 20 minutes a
day for four weeks against a tooth that had a problem, such as
erosion after a root canal.
When El-Bialy looked at the extracted teeth under the
microscope, he found new tissue was added to the roots of
treated teeth, but not to untreated ones. The therapy
regenerates the inner part of the tooth, but not the enamel.
He then teamed up with engineers Jie Chen and Ying Tsui to make
the ultrasound device smaller so it could fit comfortably inside
a patient's mouth.
The prototype can be mounted on braces or a plastic removable
The team has filed for a patent on their prototype in the U.S.
They expect to have a version that is ready for patients within
Broke a Tooth? Grow it Back ...
Susan Ruttan, The Edmonton Journal
June 28, 2006
Waves beamed from dental ultrasound device developed at U of A
have healing power
Jie Chen, left, Ying Tsui and Dr. Tarek El -Bialy, right, holds
a model, Tuesday, of the ultrasound sleeve designed to slide
over a tooth to help with the regeneration of the root.
Photograph by : Shaughn Butts, the Journal
Susan Ruttan, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2006
EDMONTON - Long used as a test for pregnant women, ultrasound
may soon have a new role -- growing teeth.
A team of University of Alberta researchers is seeking a U.S.
patent on a tiny device that will sit inside the mouth and beam
ultrasound waves at teeth.
The device won't help Ryan Smyth, the Edmonton Oiler who lost
three teeth in the hockey playoffs, but it may prevent tooth
damage that can occur from wearing braces.
And it may do much more than that. The research team envisages
bandages embedded with tiny ultrasound machines that may some
day be wrapped around broken legs to help the bone heal more
The idea originated with Dr. Tarek El-Bialy, an Egyptian-born
orthodontist who joined the university's faculty of dentistry a
El-Bialy has shown in earlier research that ultrasound waves,
the high frequency sound waves normally used for diagnostic
imaging, help bones heal and tooth material grow.
"I was using ultrasound to stimulate bone formation after
lower-jaw lengthening in rabbits," El-Bialy said in an interview
To his surprise, not only did he help heal the rabbits' jaws
after the surgery, but their teeth started to grow as well.
He later did a human study to see if ultrasound could prevent
damage to the roots of teeth when people wear braces. Braces
force the teeth to move, and that can cause root damage.
That study, published in 2004, showed that a tooth getting a
daily shot of ultrasound was protected from damage, and in fact
had more dental tissue than before.
"The problem was that the ultrasound device we were using was
very big, and the patient had to hold it in his mouth for 20
minutes every day," El-Bialy said.
When he moved to the U of A, he joined forces with two members
of the engineering faculty, Jie Chen and Ying Tsui, to design an
ultrasound machine small enough to sit inside a person's mouth.
Chen is an expert in small-circuit devices, Tsui in ultrasound.
They think it will take a year to create a workable ultrasound
device less than a centimetre long, small enough to attach to
braces or to a plastic temporary crown and powered by a tiny
Tsui said once the device -- which has been named LIPUS, for
low-intensity pulsed ultrasound -- is created, it can be used
for a variety of purposes. One idea is to make bandages embedded
with tiny ultrasound devices, for healing broken bones.
Ultrasound has also been shown to stimulate the growth of stem
cells, the cells that create all other cells, he said. An
ultrasound device could be made for triggering stem cell
El-Bialy also has work to do. So far, he has been able to
stimulate growth of the inner part of teeth, but not the enamel.
That's why he can't regrow Ryan Smyth's teeth.
He's starting new research to try to use ultrasound to repair
cracked or broken teeth.
The researchers estimate their LIPUS device will be ready for
public use within two years.
[email protected] // © The Edmonton Journal 2006