Can you imagine a day where instead of having a filing, root canal, or dentures, you could regenerate your tooth?
It is beginning to look like this will be a reality in the not too distant future, with the help of stem cells.
The potential of regenerative medicine in dentistry has been well documented over recent years, for a number of key reasons. As more research takes place we take a look at what we know already.
- Teeth are the most natural and non invasive source of stem cells.
Stem cells in teeth are the most easily accessed in all the body, requiring no surgical procedure to remove them, and therefore no discomfort to the patient.
- Stem cells extracted from dental pulp are the best preserved
Dental stem cells have been found to be better preserved than stem cells from other areas of the body. They also replicate at a faster rate, and for a longer period of time than those found in other parts of the body.
- You could use patients own cryopreserved pulpal stem cells
By harvesting stem cells from your own healthy teeth earlier in life, and then cryopreserving them, you stand the best chance of having the best stem cells for future regeneration of your dental or alveolar tissue.
These could be taken at routine dental visits from teeth that are cavity and infection free. The best candidates are wisdom teeth of 18-20 year olds because of the large pulp size.
- You can repair and regenerate lost structures of the tooth
Whilst current therapeutic interventions in dentistry aim to prevent further destruction of the tooth, this breakthrough would allow reconstruction and re-growth of the destroyed tooth. This would be particularly helpful for those suffering with advanced periodontitis where the natural architecture of the tooth could be restored and the condition reversed.
- There is the potential to regenerate a whole tooth
Embryonic tooth-germ transplantation into alveolar bone in animal models has already been successful. Using stem cells and a ‘scaffold’, which mimics the three-dimensional structure of tooth buds as they form, scientists have already succeeded in whole tooth regeneration in a pig’s jaw. This opens up potential for a progressive new way to treat tooth loss in the future.
Ajan Reginald, co-founder of Cell Therapy Ctd, and ex Global Head of Emerging Technologies at Roche, believes that this could be a rapidly growing area in regenerative medicine.
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Cell Therapy Ltd have been at the forefront of stem cell research pin pointing very rare and potent tissue specific stem cells, and engineering them into unique disease-specific cellular regenerative medicines. They are currently focused on CVS indications: Heart Failure and Myocardial infarction.