GSK announces new NovaMin-containing dental formulation for sensitive teeth

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This year, for the first time, millions of Americans will be protecting their sensitive teeth with NovaMin in everyday dental products. Co-inventor Gary Hack, DDS, couldn't be happier.

"To know that our invention will now have a positive impact globally on dental pain and help those individuals suffering from sensitive teeth is very rewarding," says Hack, who is an associate professor at the University of Maryland Dental School.

Consumer health care company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced a dental formulation, which is the first for off-the-shelf markets to contain patented NovaMin technology designed to repair sensitive teeth.

At the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting, Feb. 24 to 26, GSK in partnership with Dentsply International launched a new NovaMin-containing desensitizing paste and a take-home toothpaste under the GSK brand name called "NUPRO SENSODYNE-Powered by NOVAMIN."

"This is a true testament to the value and quality of the research that is conducted at our Dental School," says Hack.

Hack and co-workers developed NovaMin in the mid-1990s as a treatment for the relief of tooth sensitivity. In their original discovery, the Dental School researchers adapted a bone-regenerating material called Bioglass to treat sensitive teeth.

Particles of NovaMin are small enough to fill tiny tubules in teeth that sometimes allow sweet or cold sensations to reach nerves. They also found that NovaMin would release certain molecules that will remineralize teeth with repeated usage.

Last year, pharmaceutical giant GSK purchased NovaMin Technology, Inc. for $135 million. Previously, NovaMin Technology Inc. had been marketing NovaMin-containing dental products after licensing the technology from the University of Maryland.

Another NovaMin-containing product, Sensodyne Repair and Protect Toothpaste, is available in the European marketplace over-the-counter and will be available in more than 50 international markets during 2011. Similarly, GSK and Dentsply announced that over-the-counter NovaMin-containing toothpaste will be available in U.S. retail stores this summer.

"Although some NovaMin-containing products have been available in recent years, this is the first time that a major global toothpaste manufacturer will add NovaMin to their product line. As the Sensodyne product line is the number one recommended brand worldwide to treat dental sensitivity, we are honored," says Hack.

Previously, NovaMin was available in the U.S. only in teeth cleaning and polishing products for dentists and dental hygienists.

In 2007 Hack was named as a co-Entrepreneur of the Year at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for the NovaMin work. He is currently director of simulation research in the School's Department of Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Operative Dentistry.

He is a co-instructor with Ira Bloom, DDS, assistant professor, in a new course for early introduction of second year students to CAD/CAM restorations and other forms of digital dentistry.

Also recently, Gray's Anatomy, its 150th anniversary edition, an essential reference for medical students and health care professionals, entered a 'new' muscle-dura connective tissue, discovered by Hack and his colleagues. They had supported their discovery through digital cadaver images from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Visible Human Project. Hack says the previously unseen tissue may help explain the relationship between muscle tension and headaches.

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