Each year thousands of people lose a tooth due to trauma, decay, or gum disease. Traditional dentistry has long offered smile restoration solutions in the form of crown and bridge units, partial dentures, and dentures. A more permanent option, dental implants, became widely available in the 1980s.
Now, research in stem cell biology from King’s College London may lead to a new method of replacement for missing teeth – bioteeth. Researchers are attempting to use cells from a patient’s own gum tissues to grow full tooth structure. The challenge is sending the correct signals to this bioengineered material to trigger the growth of different cells necessary for formation of a tooth crown and root.
So far, researchers have successfully created a human/mouse tooth hybrid with root, dentin, and enamel. Of course, much more insight is needed before your dentist might be able to grow a new tooth from a gum scraping. Until then, a dental implant which mimics the root of a tooth, topped with a lustrous porcelain crown, will have you smiling, gap-free. Read More