Stem Cell Dental Implants Could Grow New Teeth in as Little as Two Months

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My parents always, ALWAYS, pounded it into my skull to take good care of my teeth while I was growing up or I’d pay the price later. And it would be painful. And they’re right. Here I am and I’ve still never had a cavity in my life (knock on wood). But the fact remains that a whole lot of people out there have major issues with their teeth. Here’s a sobering statistic: 26% of American adults between the ages of 65-74 have lost ALL of their teeth.

Well, it looks like good news is on the horizon for folks who have lost some teeth for one reason or another. Dentures and dental implants are widely available, of course, but there are certain issues and limitations with both – but now it seems that stem cell research might soon play a prominent role in dental care.

A group of researchers believes they have discovered a way to have the human body’s stem cells migrate to a scaffold that is placed in a patient’s mouth. Once the scaffold is implanted, stem cells will colonize it and a tooth can grow into the socket and meld with the surrounding tissue.

Basically, the process is like building a structure, but stem cells are the building blocks, and the tooth is the structure.

This groundbreaking technique was developed by Dr. Jeremy Mao, Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine, and a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University. The team experimented on rats to get their incredible results.

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

Pretty amazing stuff. Hopefully, this new technology will bring comfort to the many people who suffer from tooth decay and loss.