Many people will experience tooth loss in some part of their life. According to the Underground Health Reporter, 26% of adults by the age of 74 will have all of their permanent teeth lost.
Dentures are really uncomfortable to have and also have many issues that go with them, and dental implants can have no ability to remodel because the jaw bone can change with age.
These are just some of the reasons that people are hoping in the research done in stem cells. Even though many people think that the research with stem cells is all done with human embryos, not all of the research is involving human tissue which can change a lot of peoples’ lives.
The Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory created a new technique that can help tooth loss become a thing in the past. The lead scientists in this laboratory are Dr. Jeremy Mao, Edward V. Zegarelli, a professor of dental medicine, and a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University.
This group thinks that they have created a way to have stem cells from the body to migrate to a three-dimensional scaffold that has been made with natural materials and has been placed in a patient’s mouth. The stem cells will start colonizing the scaffold, and once that’s finished, the tooth can start growing in the socket and then combine with the surrounding tissue.
Basically, the scientists believe that they could build a tooth the same way that you build a structure, by having the body proving the bricks. The result of this research can lead to having a new anatomically correct tooth in a period of nine weeks.
The research results have been published in the JADA (Journal of Dental Research) in 2010, which is one of the top publication in the field of dentistry.
In the article, the experiment is explained as:
“In each of 22 rats, they implanted an incisor scaffold orthotopically in mandibular incisor extraction pockets and a human molar scaffold ectopically in the dorsum. They then infused the scaffolds’ microchannels with two growth factors. They also implanted growth-factor–free control scaffolds.“
“After nine weeks, they found that periodontal ligament-like fibrous tissue and new bone regenerated where the rat incisor scaffolds interfaced with native alveolar bone. The human molar scaffolds showed integration and tissue ingrowth.
Researchers also found that the growth factors recruited significantly more endogenous cells and led to greater angiogenesis than did the growth-factor–free control scaffolds.”
“These findings represent the first report of regeneration of anatomically shaped tooth-like structures in vivo, and by cell homing without cell delivery,” Dr. Mao has reported to JADA.
“The potency of cell homing is substantiated not only by cell recruitment into scaffold microchannels but also by regeneration of a putative periodontal ligaments newly formed alveolar bone.”
The best way to replace teeth currently is dental implants, which has been reported by Dentistry IQ. The implants contain a titanium cone-shaped screw with a smooth or roughened surface and when they are implanted in the body are placed in the jaw bone.
The time a person can heal from these implants can vary, but usually takes about 18 months and lots of visits to a professional.
PopularScience states the following:
“Although dental implants are available, the healing process can take months on end, and implants that fail to align with the ever-growing jawbone tend to fall out.
A key consideration in tooth regeneration is finding a cost-effective approach that can translate into therapies for patients who cannot afford or who aren’t good candidates for dental implants,” states Dr. Mao. “Cell-homing-based tooth regeneration may provide a tangible pathway toward clinical translation.”
The need to grow teeth in a petri dish has been removed due to this research. The research uses stem cells from different sources which can lead to a quicker recovery and the tooth will be less likely to drop off.
Columbia University has filed applications for patients in regards to the technology, so many people will be getting white natural teeth pretty soon.