Stem Cells Could Help Grow New Teeth
A flawless smile is and will always be attractive. However, no matter how much we try to have that perfect set of pearly whites, not everyone is blessed to have one. You may blame your bad teeth on tempting candies and sweets during younger years, or just simply on having bad oral hygiene. In this case, you lose your teeth slowly… one by one… until you realize that it is not good on your image anymore.
Unfortunately, we were told that we could no longer regrow our permanent teeth once they were taken out, but thanks to technology, we now have dentures and dental implants to help us achieve that perfect smile again without having any missing teeth. Dentures and dental implants have helped a lot of people in many generations to maintain a great aesthetic appearance, but it certainly feels different compared to real teeth.
Due to the advancements of technology over the years, it can be possible for us to regrow our missing teeth now! Yes, our very own tooth growing back personally from our very own gums. Isn’t it amazing? With the help of the scientific research and studies revolving stem cells, this once-impossible phenomena has been made possible.
What Exactly Are Stem Cells?
But what are stem cells? Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells which have the power to divide and make more stem cells. These special cells can transform into many different cells in our body. Be it is a red blood cell, a muscle cell or a skin cell – a stem cell can do it all, and help repair damaged tissues which makes it possible for us to treat damaged organs and even regrow our teeth!
Our scientists have predicted that it is possible for people with damaged or missing teeth to regrow such by using cells that are taken from their own mouth. As a matter of fact, they have already tried it on mice in laboratories. Scientists have combined stem cells from mouse teeth with human gum cells and this led to a hybrid teeth.
A study that was published on the Journal of Dental Research said that the combination of the cells from the mouse and human was transplanted into the kidneys of an adult mouse and developed into tooth structures with enamel coating. Surprisingly, they have also seen “viable developing roots.”
In their study, scientists have used two kinds of cells to make this into a possibility. From the human gum tissue, they took epithelial “surface lining” cells while they took mesenchymal stem cells from the mouse. These mesenchymal cells have the capability to develop into any tissues ranging from bones to cartilage to fat.
According to Professor Paul Sharp, the epithelial cells taken from the gum tissue of a human adult have the capacity to “respond to tooth-inducing signals from embryonic tooth mesenchyme in an appropriate way to contribute to tooth crown and root formation.” This allows growth of significant differentiated cell types after they are cultured in-vitro.
Sharp, who lead the research, added that these bioengineered tooth from epithelial cells are indeed a “realistic source for consideration in human biotooth formation.”
The Next Steps With Dental Implants
Currently, they are now on the next step and challenged with fining a way to culture these adult human mesenchymal cells for it to become tooth-inducing. Sharp said that as of now, they can only do such by using mesenchymal cells from the mouse.
The professor also added that what is needed for this development is to find adult human beings who can provide human epithelial and mesenchymal cells in “sufficient numbers” so that the biotooth can progress and become a better alternative for dental implants.
Many of us, not only these scientists, hope that this scientific advancement could lead to a real teeth replacement growing from our own to replace those removable dentures. Should this advancement push through, I believe that many people will be more than happy to undertake the procedure considering that it will definitely make them look great.
Since this is still on its developmental stage, until then, dental implants can still be considered as a treatment for tooth substitution. But if ever this stem cell approach is perfected and comes in the market, it is gladly welcome as an addition to our oral surgery options in treating missing and damaged teeth.
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