|It is estimated that by age 74, more than a quarter of all Americans will have lost a significant amount of their permanent teeth. While there are options to replace those teeth, it may be possible to grow your own in the near future.|
lmost 70 percent of adults age 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. And despite advances in dentistry, that trend only gets worse as we age. But what if there was a way to replace your teeth without using dental implants? That futuristic idea may be coming to a dentist's office near you.
It is estimated that by age 74, more than a quarter of all Americans will have lost a significant amount of their permanent teeth. While there are options to replace those teeth, it may be possible to grow your own in the near future.
An animal-model study has shown that by homing stem cells to a scaffold made of natural materials and integrated in surrounding tissue, there is no need to use harvested stem cell lines, or create an environment outside of the body (e.g., a Petri dish) where the tooth is grown and then implanted once it has matured. The tooth instead can be grown “orthotopically,” or in the socket where the tooth will integrate with surrounding tissue in ways that are impossible with hard metals or other materials.
"These findings represent the first report of regeneration of anatomically shaped tooth-like structures in vivo, and by cell homing without cell delivery,” Dr. Jeremy Mao and his colleagues say in a research paper. "The potency of cell homing is substantiated not only by cell recruitment into scaffold microchannels, but also by the regeneration of periodontal ligaments and newly formed alveolar bone."
"People really care about their teeth and they really care once those teeth are gone," said Dr. Peter Murray, endodontics professor at Nova Southeastern University..
"It would be nice to give people back their own teeth and make their whole body whole again," said Murray.
To grow teeth, researchers isolate stem cells from the mouth or bone marrow. The cells are multiplied in the lab, then grown on 3-dimensional scaffolds. Stem cells are then attached to an actual tooth.
"All the animal studies that have been done so far are very encouraging, so it looks like the clinical trials will be successful," said Murray.
The teeth can be grown in the lab and implanted in the patient or they could actually grow inside the patient's mouth, filling in empty spaces with new teeth in just a few months.
"This will be, in the future, the standard of care for dentistry, to use stem cell therapy to regrow teeth or parts of teeth," said Murray.
One has to ask too — if the practice takes hold with teeth, how about other organs and body parts?
|By 33rd Square||Subscribe to 33rd Square|