Scientists really never back down. A new dental replacement procedure is in the works, and it could be a whole lot better than getting regular dentures or standard implants.
Losing a tooth is a source of major pain, and it also comes with a lot of issues and long-term discomforts. Dentures are one way to replace a lost or bad tooth, but they come with a lot of burdens on their own.
It takes a while to get used to having teeth you were not born with, and some people’s gums and jaw bones are just not suitable to receive implants.
A new procedure has been developed for tooth replacement. According to a study that was published in the Journal of Dental Research, it could now be possible to regenerate your own teeth through stem cell stimulation.
How do these stem cell implants actually work?
To begin, a growth-factor-infused 3D scaffolding is implanted into the area of the missing tooth, which then stimulates your body’s own stem cells to migrate to the area. In turn, this will stimulate the regeneration of an anatomically perfect tooth. What’s even more amazing is that this process only takes around two months!
What’s unique about this, is that it harnesses the body’s own resources. There is no need for stem cell harvesting or for anything to be grown outside of the body (i.e. in a petri dish).
In the paper, Dr. Mao stated his motivation for this research.
“Key consideration in tooth regeneration is finding a cost-effective approach that can translate into therapies for patients who cannot afford or who are not suitable candidates for dental implants. Cell-homing-based tooth regeneration may provide a distinct pathway toward clinical translation.”
How will the public take this?
This technique also allows you to recover more quickly than the traditional implants would. Despite all the aforementioned endearing advantages, this method may have a hard time gaining public acceptance, however, education is key.
While many people are ethically opposed to medical procedures involving the use of stem cells, it is important to understand that the stem cells used are from our own bodies. This new process is completely natural and undergoes no form of manipulation.
The University of Columbia has already completed the process of patent application for this new medical technology. While the research is in its early stages, it will continue with Dr. Mao, to improve this new technique and to eventually have it available to the general public.
Finally, Dr. Ira B. Lamster, dean of the College of Dental Medicine, seems optimistic stating that,
“This research provides an example of what is achievable when today’s biology is applied to common clinical problems. Dr. Mao’s research is a look into the future of dental medicine.”
- Kim, K., Lee, C., Kim, B., & Mao, J. (2010). Anatomically Shaped Tooth and Periodontal Regeneration by Cell Homing. Journal of Dental Research,89(8), 842-847. doi:10.1177/0022034510370803. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022034510370803?journalCode=jdrb
- Columbia University. (2019, January 21). Jeremy J. Mao, DDS, PhD. Retrieved from https://www.dental.columbia.edu/profile/jeremy-j-mao-dds
- Columbia University Medical Center. (2010, May 25). Tissue engineering technique yields potential biological substitute for dental implants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 19, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524111724.htm
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