Losing a tooth is a challenge. Not only can it be painful, but you’re left with a space in your smile. And that can prove to have a negative impact on your self-esteem and how you look at yourself. Our smiles play a big part in how we feel about ourselves. If you’ve lost a tooth, you might have considered dental implants or even gotten one or two. But they are expensive. And until recently, they were not always created from materials that were good to have in your mouth like mercury or silver.
Now some out-of-the-box dentists are trying something new. They wanted to shake up the industry and move away from expensive and inconvenience dental implants. So one dentist asked, ‘What if we could grow teeth?’ And so they set out figuring out how to do it.
Dr. Jeremy Mao and his fantastic team at Columbia University in New York City have grown teeth using stem cells as a “scaffold” for a new tooth to grow over.
While it’s great to hear about this groundbreaking solution from me, allow me to let Dr. Mao explain it to you.
“The missing tooth is replaced with stem cells from your body, and the tooth starts merging to the surrounding tissue on its own. This boosts the regeneration process and results in regrowth of the tooth in record time.”
Now dentists could have access to this miraculous technology and help patients regrow their teeth. This could help lower the cost of dentistry while giving patients a new way to smile.
While dental implants offer a quick solution, they come with risks. Research has shown that dental implants increase a person’s vulnerability to problems like heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and others.
Although regrowing teeth sounds like a wonderful thing, Pamela Robey, Ph.D., the chief of Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research encourages dentists to use caution because professionals might not know what the stem cell will grow.
“What we do know,” she said, “is the cells from dental pulp in baby or wisdom teeth have the ability to make dentin and pulp and they might have the ability to make bone, but right now that’s all we really know for sure.”
Although people are jumping at the chance to have their teeth regrown, Dr. Mao is not ready to take on patients. The process is still in the research phase and is not yet available to the public. But the hope is that it could become a routine procedure in the next few decades.
Oral health is an important element in your overall health. Make sure to visit your dentist at least twice per year for a cleaning and to monitor for cavities. If you are proactive, you’re more likely to have your smile for the rest of your life. And that’s something we can all smile about.
What do you think about this groundbreaking procedure? Would you trust stem cells to work for you?