Losing your teeth is a fond part of your childhood. You get to sport a cool new gap. The tooth fairy leaves you money and people are generally praising you for being brave. The same event, though, is a bit more mortifying in adult life. Having non-functioning teeth, or gaps in where they should is a case for embarrassment as well as a challenge when eating. Dentures are often uncomfortable and take a lot of getting used to. However, a new discovery of stem cells in human teeth has the potential to make all your worries go away.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells may be defined as a class of undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cell types that can divide into to create more stem cells. Stem cells are self-renewing in nature. This means that they can go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining their undifferentiated state. This property allows us to treat various diseases and conditions via stem cell therapy.
Stem cell therapy is an area of active research in the medical field. Bone marrow transplant is a stem cell therapy technique that has been employed by medical experts without controversy for years. Use of stem cells in production of dental implants, on the other hand, is a relatively newer application that is gaining wide success. Dental Implants Toronto has assisted many denture wearers bid goodbye to painful removable dentures by offering this new technology.
Why the focus on Dental Implants?
While it has been observed that stem cells are located in all tissues, collecting them is arduous, and sometimes, an impossible task, especially without harming the patient. However, with the discovery of stem cells in human teeth, the cells have become far more accessible. Additionally, research suggests that stem cells sourced from a tooth are some of the strongest stem cells in the body.
How does this work?
The regenerative property of dental pulp is the basis for utilization of dental stem cells. The cells are extracted and transferred into a vial containing hypotonic phosphate buffered saline solution. A series of controlled reactions are used to isolate the cells. They are then preserved by either cryopreservation or magnetic freezing.
While all teeth have stem cells, usually incisors or canines with at least a third of their roots intact are selected for preservation. Age does not pose any hindrance, but the younger the teeth, the younger the cells and the better the regenerative process should work. The optimum number of teeth for banking is usually recommended by the operative during your appointment.
Dental Implants have a wide range of applications in dentistry and medicine.
- Regeneration of damaged dentin, pulp, resorbed root, treatment of structural defects are some of the uses already in effect. Reconstruction of whole tooth in order to replace the traditional dental implants is also in the works
- Adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have recently been identified in gingival connective tissues. These have the potential to regenerate bones and treat mandibular defects. MSCs provide the right environment to correctively treat osseous defects. Thus it is of vital use.
- The surgical GBR therapeutic method involves using a barrier membrane facing the alveolar ridge defect. Using stem cells from dental pulp, the affected area can be regenerated and the alveolar ridge defect can be alleviated. This provides tremendous benefit to the area.
While applications in the field of stem cells still remain largely controversial, dental implants, it seems, has broken the mould. With its non-invasive method of cell collection the possibilities of research and use in this field are limitless. Its use in therapy is already being proven and researchers estimate that soon, teeth made from your own cells will as common as getting dentures is now.