Now, stem cells have allowed scientists to grow new teeth. At this year’s Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition, researchers announced a new technology that allows stem cells to grow into new teeth.
The technology is expected to be an effective way to replace missing teeth without the high costs of implants and other surgeries.
Today, dentists struggle with implants for a number of different reasons. First, the cost of implants is prohibitively expensive for some patients, and second, the implants must be designed to last for long periods of time.
Unfortunately for those who need new teeth today, the technology isn’t particularly close to being completed. The researchers claim that they should be able to implement stem cells in mice within five years. If those tests are successful, then human tests could be a few years further down the road.
Derived from shark and snake teeth genetics
In order to grow teeth, researchers looked at the genetics of sharks and snakes. Both creatures rapidly regrow a tooth after one breaks or falls out.
Scientists are trying to replicate that technology in humans, but are running into a number of barriers. The primary barrier is that two cells are required in order to produce new teeth:
-Mesenchymal stem cells
One cell needs to “send a message” to the other cell to start growing new teeth. Epithelial cells respond to gum tissues during routine dental surgery. However, scientists have not yet found mesenchymal cells that respond the same way – which is the next problem to solve.
Could be performed during routine dental surgery
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this research is that dentists could promote new teeth growth during routine dental surgery.
As mentioned above, one of the two cells required to grow new teeth already responds during routine dental surgery. If scientists find mesenchymal cells that respond the same way, then dentists may be able to “activate” your body’s teeth growing properties during a routine cleaning.
The next time you sit down for a routine cleaning, the dentist may ask you if you want some new teeth while you wait.
This isn’t the first time stem cells have indicated their power to do something amazing. They can be used to regrow bones throughout the body. In dentistry, “dental pulp stem cells” – which come from the soft tissue inside the tooth – are being researched for everything from muscular dystrophy to brain tissue regeneration.
Looking for a Birmingham AL dentist? Valleydale Dental Associates may not grow teeth from stem cells (yet!). However, they will make patients feel comfortable and relaxed while providing top-quality dental care. Call today to enjoy the $75 new patient special!