Growing Teeth Like Plants
Just Water It Daily
Researchers at many top institutions around the world are currently working on using stem cell technology to grow tooth buds. The idea is that these cells can be placed in the appropriate areas of the mouth and cause teeth to grow out naturally. Talk about feeling like a kid again! Although you may not get a visit from the tooth fairy, this technology definitely sounds magical. Imagine being able to have a natural tooth once again without the need for any metal implants or crowns. This would greatly change the field of dentistry and enhance the quality of life for many people.
In order to understand how this is even possible researchers studied the ability of certain animals that are naturally able to regrow teeth. Being a fan of Shark Week I was delighted that my buddy the great white was among the animals studied and examined. Sharks, snakes, alligators, and other animals are able to regrow new adult teeth and replace lost ones. Studying the science behind how this happens has led to a new understanding of the way in which tooth buds form.
DNA researchers have studied the process and identified the types of cells required to make is all work. Epithelial and Mesenchymal cells are the building blocks required for the generation of teeth. While gathering these types of cells is a challenge the bigger challenge is getting these cells to “turn on” and start forming a tooth. Tests are being carried out on lab rats to try out the various ways in hopes of finding a solution.
Bring Out The Laser
Other studies are also focusing on using various techniques like ultrasound and laser therapy to get the body to naturally stimulate the growth of a tooth without the need for stem cells. Research on these areas is still ongoing and nothing concrete has yet to be concluded. Nonetheless, it is exciting to see that big gains are being made in the field. Hopefully a trip to the dentist can soon turn into flashing a laser in your mouth and sending you on your way. In the meantime don’t stop brushing and flossing just yet.