Scientists Come Up With a New Technique That Allows People to Regrow Their Lost Teeth

Scientists Come Up With a New Technique That Allows People to Regrow Their Lost Teeth

It’s game over for bank-breaking dental implants and bridges with this new technology that has been developed to help people regrow their lost teeth. [1]

According to the American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million adults in the world are missing at least one tooth. [2] What if they could be given an inexpensive option to regrow their lost teeth in 9 weeks?

There are limited procedures employed in the field of dental surgery to replace lost teeth in adults. The two common ones are bridging artificial teeth to a metal frame and implanting dental prosthetics. These options are not only expensive, but aside from cases of incorrect fusing and prosthetics falling out after a while, they have also been reported to potentially cause health issues. [3]

 In 2010, scientists at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Columbia University developed a technique that allows teeth to be regrown “orthotopically” in the sockets using the body’s stem cells. [4] The stem cells are guided around a scaffold made of natural materials in the shape of a tooth. The regenerating tooth will progressively integrate with tissue surrounding the socket, fitting nearly as perfectly as it would in the natural regrowth process. 

“The missing tooth is replaced with stem cells from your body, and the tooth starts merging to the surrounding tissue on its own,” said Dr. Jeremy Mao, lead author of the research and a professor of dental surgery at the University of Columbia. “This boosts the regeneration process and results in regrowth of the tooth in record time.”

Clinical trials

The technique was tested on 22 rats using rat incisor scaffolds and human molar scaffolds. The researchers reported that after nine weeks, fibrous tissue regenerated around the rat scaffolds while there was tissue in-growth around the human molar scaffolds. This means that with the right shape of a tooth to fit a socket and properly guide the stem cells, regeneration is possible.

These findings represent the first report of regeneration of anatomically shaped tooth-like structures in vivo, and by cell homing without cell delivery,” said Dr. Mao.

This technique is still a long way from being commercialized since it has not been tested on humans yet. For the time being, we are stuck with getting metal fitted deep into our gums if we are ever unlucky to be missing a tooth.

Tips on how to protect your teeth from falling out

Maintaining good oral health helps prevent a need to have your tooth replaced. A single implant costs about $1,000 to $3,000, so you might want to carefully guard all the teeth you’ve got.

According to the Journal of Dental Periodontology, some risk factors for tooth loss include: being older than 35, smoking, never brushing, diabetes, high blood pressure, and avoiding regular dental check-ups. [5] Also, males have a higher risk of losing their teeth than females. 

Here are daily dental care tips to prevent tooth decay and subsequent loss:

  • Brush at least twice a day or after every meal. Most importantly, be sure to brush before going to bed at night.
  • Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing down the rate of bacterial breakdown on the enamel and increasing the production of tooth-nourishing minerals.
  • For healthy teeth and gums, eat foods high in calcium or get a prescription for calcium supplements.
  • Drink fluoridated water and discuss healthy fluoride supplements with your dentist.
  • Avoid sugary foods such as candy, chocolate, ice-cream, chips, soda, and foods high in carbs. Tooth-destroying bacteria feed on these nutrients. If you eat any decadent foods, brush your teeth right after or use a fluoride-containing mouthwash.
  • Do not eat food too cold or too hot.
  • Avoid getting into physical fights — for obvious reasons.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Floss after every meal.
  • Choose xylitol gum as a substitute for sugary gums.

References:

  1. Stem cells in the face: tooth regeneration and beyond .” NCBI. Mao JJ, Prockop DJ. Retrieved November 22,2019.
  2. Missing Teeth.” Prosthodontics. American College of Prosthodontists. Retrieved November 22,2019.
  3. Side Effects of Dental Metal Implants: Impact on Human Health (Metal as a Risk Factor of Implantologic Treatment).NCBI Prikrylova et al. PMC. Retrieved November 22,2019.
  4. Body’s Own Stem Cells Can Lead To Tooth Regeneration, Research Shows.” JADA. Retrieved November 22,2019.
  5. 9 Risk Factors for Tooth Loss.” Web MD. Miranda Hitti. Retrieved November 22,2019.
  6. The Cost of Dental Implants Broken Down.” Admin. Spirit Dental. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
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