The future of tooth regeneration is near
While dental implants, crowns, fillings and veneers are all options to restore or replace damaged teeth, there may be a new solution in the future: tooth regeneration. Stem cells are interchangeable biological cells that can separate into specialized cells and divide themselves through mitosis to yield more stem cells. Because they’re capable of renewing themselves through cell division and have the amazing ability to become many different types of cells, they have the power to become an essential part of regenerative medicine. The last decade has provided us with unparalleled advances in tissue engineering and stem cell-based tooth regeneration. These advances show that replacing lost or damaged teeth may be possible within the coming years.
Through the investigation of embryonic and adult tissue as potential cell bases for the regeneration of teeth, scientists have found this could very well mark a potential shift in how we care for those who have experienced tooth loss and damage. Unfortunately, the future of stem cell tooth regeneration will be (and has been) met with controversy. Technical and ethical issues have sprung up and obstructed the availability for cells in the clinical application of the research. A recent discovery that led to the finding of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has given regenerative medicine, especially when used in dentistry, a much needed boost by offering the option of autologous transplantation. This means the stem cells will come from your own bone marrow, making the cells readily available and less controversial.
Tooth loss is very common
Adults are losing their teeth at a greater rate, with the number of people who have more than five congenitally missing teeth increasing yearly. At present, dentures or dental implants are used to restore missing teeth. Although, denture therapy is safe and common practice, it could lead to complications down the road such as denture-induced stomatitis, ulcers and surgery failure. Although these are uncommon, they are sources of concern for some people.
A possible way to combat these potential impediments exists in stem cell-based tooth regeneration. Stem cell-based tooth regeneration could be an alternative to the way we deal with teeth restoration as a whole. With the advances in tissue engineering and stem cell biology developing rapidly, there exists a strong possibility that iPS may lead to the future of regenerative medicine. Your teeth do more for you than just make your food easier to swallow. You need them for articulation, esthetics and overall oral health. Your teeth provide multiple functions and losing them could lead to physical and psychological damage, and with stem cell tooth regeneration on the horizon, you may never have to wear dentures!
Until then, the teeth you have are the teeth you’re stuck with! Brush often, attend regular checkups and maintain proper oral health to prevent the need for dentures or dental implants.