When you think about it, the fact that we grow one set of “baby” teeth, lose them, and then grow another even bigger and better set is kind of amazing. And if only our permanent teeth could regrow and replace themselves in the same way when we have serious dental issues that cause us to lose one or more teeth when we’re adults. It’s not as futuristic as it might sound, with dental experts and researchers constantly looking for new and better ways to help our teeth last a lifetime.
As it stands right now
Luckily, when we adults break, crack, damage or lose a tooth, modern dental interventions are there to help in the form of:
These solutions are designed to help us maintain our dental and physical health, as well as an attractive smile. But that could change.
In the future
Dental researchers are working to develop ways of growing healthy new teeth and bone from dental stem cells. That means that current technology allowing your dentist to provide effective forms of “manmade” tooth replacement may itself be replaced. Someday, dental stem cells could be used to grow new teeth and jawbone, as needed. Dental stem cells could even be used to reconstruct the jawbone after a serious injury or disease.
Dental stem cells are quite versatile
They’re a type of “universal cell” that can actually convert into many different kinds of oral tissue. The researchers in this study harvested stem cells from healthy adult tooth pulp and in the lab, grew new tooth buds, which are the tiny clusters of soft tissue that eventually grow into our mature teeth.
It will be revolutionary
This new method for treating damaged or missing teeth and jawbone is a long way off, but when it comes into use, it will revolutionize many dental treatments. Work so far looks quite promising, but it will be years before we will be able to “grow” replacement teeth. For now, as always, the best treatment for teeth is preventive, including good home care and seeing your dentist regularly. Call for your appointment today: (847) 223-5200.