With their remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types throughout the entire body, stem cells are useful in many different areas of medicine. The increasing numbers of ways in which they can be exploited for healing purposes is pertinent to dentistry, as stem cells are accessible from pulp within primary teeth.
Although it might not be on everyone’s agenda, harvesting and storing stem cells can contribute to a child’s healthy future as it can help, cure or even prevent certain diseases. At the moment, stem cells are used to treat cardiac infarction, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease and spinal cord injuries. What’s truly beneficial with using personal stem cells, is that it eliminates the possibility of contracting disease from donor cells.
What’s more exciting for the dental world, however, is that recent research indicates that it might become possible to re-grow or re-attach teeth with the use of stem cells. Our current options are an implants or a bridge. Both have significant advantages but if they fail, this can be burdensome to the patient
It would therefore be of great value to the dental profession and our patients if more options became available. Recent research has looked at using stem cells to re-attach teeth, which would be extremely useful for people suffering from gum disease or who have lost a tooth in an accident.
Injecting stem cells
Another study looked at re-growing teeth by injecting one’s own stem cells. The researchers used tooth-shaped scaffolds and certain proteins along with growth factors to draw in stem cells and develop the bone. An incredible discovery, which is not yet available for treatment, but it does give an indication of what science will deliver in the – hopefully near – future.