Friday, November 19, 2010

Bionic teeth

Losing a tooth in adulthood isn't exciting as it was when we were young. In fact, adult tooth loss has serious consequences--like difficulty chewing food or not wanting to smile at school or work. Missing teeth can also weaken the overall structure of your mouth.

In the next few years, there may be a "bionic" option for replacing lost teeth: re-growing them. We have seen the technology work in animals and we hope it will be available for commercial use in the next decade.

Scientists have discovered stem cells in baby teeth and that may put our friend the tooth fairy out of a job. In animals, scientists have used scaffolding to re-grow teeth. Work on the human genome has identified a gene that may actually re-grow a duplicate tooth in your own mouth. This technology is still maybe years away from being realized, yet there is reason to believe that stem cells from baby teeth will eventually be used to grow your own teeth for replacement. Instead of putting teeth under the pillow, parents may be sending their children’s teeth to stem cell banks for cryogenic storage.

A viable option for a lost tooth today is the dental implant. (Incidentally, November is Dental Implant Month). These replacements not only act and feel like natural teeth, but they also offer solid, non-mobile support. It may take three to six months for your new implant to feel fully functional in your own mouth following an extraction of a tooth, but dental implants restore proper chewing functions, allowing you to be able to enjoy foods you love.

Read more about tissue regeneration for teeth at