Stem cells could one day be used to repair tooth decay

Stem cells could one day be used to repair cavities or broken or cracked teeth, and experiments conducted in the laboratory offer hope.

It may also be possible to harness the diversity of stem cells to create new teeth that are then implanted into the patient’s mouth. Researchers at the University of Leuven, Belgium, took stem cells from a dental follicle, the connective tissue that forms around developing teeth. Then they made a 3D model that could produce new dental stem cells in the lab. In theory, researchers might be able to harvest stem cells from teeth that have fallen out or had to be extracted, such as wisdom teeth. These cells can then be frozen for later use.

If we usually hear that stem cells can eventually create new heart or muscle cells, new nerve cells, and even whole organs, dentistry “has not escaped scientists’ interest (in) this extraordinary potential of cell lineages,” the deputy dean of graduate studies said. Studies and research at the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Laval, d. She added that the first scientific publications on this subject date back to the mid-2000s.

“This may be the advantage we have over other specialties,” Dr. Shendad said. During wisdom tooth extraction, biological material is discarded, so it is easier for dentists to go and collect, study and exploit dental pulp, thus we have learned many, many things about these dental stem cells. She added that stem cells could one day be used to regenerate not only dental pulp and tissue, but also for all “orthodontic reconstruction”.

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The challenge now is to go from theory to practice, to have labs grow these cells and give them to a dentist to re-implant them “to rejuvenate the dental organ,” Dr. Chandad said. “What seemed like science fiction is now getting closer to reality,” she said. 3D printing, 3D cell culture, makes (all of that) viable. Chandad concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown us that science can advance rapidly when needed. The results of this study were published in the scientific journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences.

Image credit: archive.

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